Plagiarism, Theft, and Other Unpleasant Topics

Plagiarism is Theft: We will consider all collaborations outside of your assigned partnership as theft. This includes telling your friends what we asked during codewalks. We will report all occurrences to the administration. Warning: if you didn't write the code, that fact will almost always become obvious during codewalks. Also, we routinely submit assignments to automated plagiarism detectors.

Students who are guilty of plagiarism have in the past been suspended and in exceptional cases dismissed from the program. (I know of one student who was dismissed from the program a week before graduation!).

The official University definition of plagiarism is here. Read it! But we have a simple summary:


Here are some typical situations:

If at any time you feel that you or your partner may have violated this policy, it is imperative that you contact the course staff immediately. It will be much the worse for you if our software detects your indiscretion. If you or your partner have cheated; if you have any doubt about whether you or your partner have done things honestly; if, even by accident, your team might have represented any other person's work as your own: COME TALK TO THE STAFF AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. You are better off if you work with us than if we have to come find you.

A final thought: Students typically report that this course requires about 20 hours of work per week, so budget your time accordingly. We know that students who are under time pressure are far more likely to resort to theft. Time pressure or stress is not an acceptable excuse. The measure of character is not what you do when things are easy; it is what you do when things get tough.

Security: Guard your work! If you keep your work on your home machine, be sure your machine is secure, both from Internet hostiles and from your roommates, etc. It only takes a minute for your roommate, or for the person sitting next to you in the hallway, to stick a USB drive in your machine and steal your work. Don't discount this; we have encountered theft by roommates on a regular basis in the past. Remember that physical security is a prerequisite for information security.

If you do your work on our Unix machines, make sure that your local repository is protected 600. Leaving it group- or world- readable means that anyone can steal your work. Your home directory includes, by default, a directory called classes that is readable only by you. Put all your class work here. If you put class material in some unprotected directory, and somebody else copies it, you will be held responsible.

Last modified: Mon Jul 29 17:40:57 -0400 2013