CT Help & FAQ
Where Can I Get Help?
Before contacting anyone for help, please check whether your question has an answer in the FAQ list below. If not:
- If you have a question about the lecture material or course organisation, then contact the main instructor at a lecture for an immediate answer. You can also contact him by email with a brief description of the issue and suggested time(s) for a meeting that is normally to be held at his office, as you may be given an appointment. Only in suitable cases will a full answer be given by email, as email is sometimes not an effective teaching medium.
- If you have a question about the lecture material, assignments, project, or infrastructure, then contact the assistant at a lab for an immediate answer. You can also contact him by email with a brief description of the issue and suggested time(s) for a meeting that is normally to be held at his office, as you may be given an appointment. Only in suitable cases will a full answer be given by email, as email is sometimes not an effective teaching medium.
- If you have trouble solving an assignment, then you should preferably go to the lab of the assignment in order to get hints on how to proceed.
- You may also ask your fellow students and the instructors in public via the course mailing list.
- You may also ask the Gecode/J developers and users in public via the Gecode mailing list. First check the archive of this list, as your question may already have been asked.
Email contact on confidential issues must be made from your Uppsala University address or set the Reply-To field to that address, and will be ignored otherwise as we then have no way to ascertain your identity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Answers
- Will I get rich after passing this course? There is no limit to the need for competent experts on optimisation. See the articles Constraint Technology and the Commercial World (this link works from within the university) and Constraint Programming -- The Paradigm to Watch for instance.
- Literature and Lectures & Slides
- Which book, if any, should I buy? The book by Apt is primarily for those who would like to know more about the mathematical foundations of constraint programming. However, many passing students reported having bought no book at all, relying solely on the lecture slides and internet resources.
- Why are the lecture slides not closer to the book by Apt? This is a pedagogical choice that not everyone may agree with: Multiple viewpoints on the same material help a lot of students.
- Where are model solutions to the exercises of the book by Apt? We do not know of any such repository.
- Why are there not more exercises solved by the main instructor in the lectures? Like every course, CT has a required theoretical content, as well as a fixed budget for manpower (no instructor is full-time on the course): The balance of theory and practice in the lectures simply follows from these data and is not a sign of our bad will. On the contrary, given more resources, we would love to offer additional practical problem solving sessions. Also keep in mind that there are labs for the assignments.
- Where can I get / buy print-outs of the lecture slides? Nowhere. Print them out yourself: Not everyone has the same size preferences, and some of you may prefer to annotate electronically the PDF versions of the slides, so we would not know how many copies of each size to print in advance.
- Assignments, Project, & Labs
- How do I best use my time, and yours, in order to solve an assignment? Prepare your solution as far as possible until the corresponding lab, in order to make best use of that reserved timespan of personal attention by the assistant. This is much more effective than going to the lab, printing out the assignment (which was published at least a week before the lab and often does not require any material taught in the meantime), and not meeting all the difficulties until the end of the two lab hours.
- I am lost! Why do the assignment and project instructions not tell us how to solve the questions? Stating only what output has to be computed from the inputs is a pedagogical choice. In most real-life engineering problems you are not asked to solve a problem using method m on page p of textbook t. Try and come to the lab of the assignment in order to get hints on how to proceed.
- Why are the assignment questions not in sync with the lecture contents? See the previous question.
- Why do I need to spend so much time on the assignments and project when they are only worth three credit points? Any time spent on the assignments and project reduces the amount of time needed to prepare for the exam (worth 4.5 credit points), so it pays off. Besides, the scheduled events (totalling about 35 hours), assignment & project solving, and exam preparation form a whole, on which you are supposed to spend some 200 hours total.
- Where are model answers to the questions of previous exams? Nowhere. The main instructor does not believe in making such answers available (on-line or otherwise) without discussing solution processes or alternative correct answers in person at the same time, which is one of the purposes of the final lecture.
- Will there be programming questions in the exam? Will exam questions be similar to assignment and project questions? Programming skills are mostly tested in the assignments and project. Any programs for exam questions will be in pseudocode, but programming experience from the assignments and project ought to be useful for such exam questions.
- What will the exam questions be? What should I focus on when preparing the exam? Try and come to the lectures, as the main instructor makes it very clear there what the most important elements of the course material are. The lecture slides are a good indication of this.
- I nearly passed the exam. What can I do to avoid taking the next exam? No make-up opportunities will be created for near-passes, as the main instructor evaluates those cases very carefully before announcing the exam results.
- Software & Hardware, Help & FAQ, Evaluation & Feedback, and Resources
- How do I install Gecode/J on my own computer? Follow the link at Software & Hardware.
- Why do I not get a reply to my emailed query? On working days and hours, you can normally expect a reply within a few hours. If it was a confidential question, check whether you have sent it from your Uppsala University address or set the Reply-To field to that address.
- Are you interested in additional links to great internet resources? Yes, absolutely. Send us an email with links, and we will add the best ones to the course web-pages.
- Course Manager and Credit Points
- Why can I not log in to the course manager or submit assignment / project solutions for this course? The course manager is not automatically creating from Uppdok a course account for every student that is formally registered to the course this academic year. Such account creation is done manually by the instructor within 10 days after the first, mandatory lecture, based on the roll-call performed there and based on the Uppdok list of confirmed registered students. So if you do not have a course-manager account for this course, it is because you have missed the first, mandatory lecture.
- I passed the exam or assignments & project, but why are my credit points not reported yet to Uppdok? The course manager is not automatically reporting awarded credit points to Uppdok, but there is a manual process involved in that. So be patient and do not worry until at least a month after the official end of the study period.