This is a 4-unit course. For undergraduates or masters students in CS or SymSys, CS147 or CS247 is a prerequisite. All graduate and PhD students from other departments are welcome. Graduate students with a unit cap may enroll for 3 units; the workload is the same.


We expect attendance and active participation in lecture. This course is not SCPD, so lectures are not recorded. Attendance is also required in person for one discussion section each week. Discussion is important, because it is how we probe and deepen our understandings of this material. Attendance and participation factor into the participation grade. You will be allowed up to two excused absences from section due to controllable circumstances (e.g., joining the class late, interviews). You must email your section TA to get approval for the excused absence.


30% reading commentaries

Students should submit a short commentary for each reading on Canvas.

Commentaries will be graded on a check-minus/check/check-plus scale. These scores correspond to B, A, and A+ respectively.

We will drop the four lowest commentary grades at the end of class: meaning, you may drop four readings’ (not four days’) worth of commentaries. You may pass for any reason (e.g., personal or family matters, conflicting deadlines). There are no exemptions beyond this. These exempted commentaries should be specifically noted as being passed on. You will receive a check on any commentary that you pass.

60% five quizzes

There will be five in-class quizzes, one every other week. The first four will cover the material from the previous two weeks of readings and lectures and be worth 10% each. The final quiz will cover the entire course, emphasizing the final two weeks. It will be at least twice the length of the earlier quizzes and be worth 20%. All quizzes will be closed-note.

10% participation

Class participation grades are based on whether you productively contribute to the classroom discussions in lecture and section. This grade is split:

Late Policy

Late commentaries and discussant metacommentaries will not be accepted. You can already pass on two days’ worth of commentaries and discussant metacommentaries must be completed on time for the discussion to work properly.


It is very important to us that all assignments are properly graded. The teaching staff works extremely hard to grade fairly and to turn around assignments quickly. We know that you work hard, and we respect that. Occasionally, mistakes happen, and it’s important to us to correct them. If you believe there is an error in your assignment grading, please submit an explanation in writing to the staff within seven days of receiving the grade. We will regrade the entire assignment to ensure quality.

No regrade requests will be accepted orally, and no regrade requests will be accepted more than seven days after receipt of the assignment. Regrade requests must be respectful; we will not consider any regrade requests containing disrespectful language.

Students with Documented Disabilities

Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). Professional staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty dated in the current quarter in which the request is being made. Students should contact the OAE as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone: 723-1066, URL: Please send any accomodations letters to

Stanford University Honor Code

It is expected that you accurately represent your own work and the work of others in this class. Ideas should be your own. Any use of tools (e.g., ChatGPT) should be limited to clarity and credited appropriately in your submission.

The Honor Code is a part of this course. The Honor Code is the university’s statement on academic integrity written by students in 1921. It articulates university expectations of students and faculty in establishing and maintaining the highest standards in academic work. The Honor Code is an undertaking of the students, individually and collectively: that they will not give or receive aid in examinations; that they will not give or receive unpermitted aid in class work, in the preparation of reports, or in any other work that is to be used by the instructor as the basis of grading; that they will do their share and take an active part in seeing to it that others as well as themselves uphold the spirit and letter of the Honor Code. The faculty on its part manifests its confidence in the honor of its students by refraining from proctoring examinations and from taking unusual and unreasonable precautions to prevent the forms of dishonesty mentioned above. The faculty will also avoid, as far as practicable, academic procedures that create temptations to violate the Honor Code. While the faculty alone has the right and obligation to set academic requirements, the students and faculty will work together to establish optimal conditions for honorable academic work.

Names and Pronouns

Use the names and pronouns (e.g., they/them, she/her, he/him, just a name, or something else) indicated by your classmates for themselves. If you don’t want to share a set of pronouns for yourself, that is perfectly acceptable, too. If your name or pronouns change during the course, we invite you to share this with us and/or other students, so we may talk with you and refer to your ideas in discussion as you would wish.


It’s possible for even well-intentioned students to accidentally alienate your peers. Comments can make unwelcome assumptions that don’t fit some lives, and it’s also possible for critiques and conversations to constitute what’s called harassment. Harassment means unwelcome or even hostile behavior, including speech, that intimidates, creates discomfort, or interferes with a person’s participation or opportunity for participation. That behavior will shut the person down in class, and that is simply not fair and not something we want. Harassment can involve nationality, age, color, creed, disability, gender, sexual orientation or any other protected status. It also extends to unwelcome sexual advances. A response that the participant was “just joking,” or “teasing,” or being “playful,” is not acceptable. If you have witnessed or experienced any harassment that you wish to report, please let an instructor know privately and promptly.

University employees – including professors and TAs – are obligated by Stanford to report what they know about incidents of sexual or relationship violence, stalking and sexual harassment to the Sexual Harassment Policy Office. If you would like to talk with a confidential resource you can contact the Confidential Support Team at their 24/7 hotline: 650-725-9955. You can read more at If you have any questions about responsible employee requirements or campus resources on sexual violence, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.