CPI 101
Introduction to Informatics

Arizona State University
Fall Semester 2007

T & TH 9:15-10:30 in BYENG 361

3 credit hours
SLN = 86642
(General Studies Designation CS Pending)

Instructor: Dianne Hansford, PhD

Tel: 480-703-0263
Office: BYENG 354

Office Hours: T, TH 10:30-11:30 & by appointment

reference material

What is Informatics?

The study of how information is collected, organized, manipulated, classified, stored, retrieved, and visualized.

Google, YouTube, Blogs, FaceBook, Travelocity, ...
It is obvious that we live in a data-centric world! People are getting rich by leading the way in capturing and packaging data in creative ways. Informatics is the study of how we collect, store, manipulate, retrieve, and visualize data. Not only is Informatics a key tool for popular web applications, but also for just about any other discipline: life sciences, social sciences, business, mathematics, and engineering. The real winners in this new world will be the ones that have the tools to transform data into information and then into knowledge. In fact, our ability to find answers to the most pressing problems of today, such as global warming and curing diseases, depends on our abilities to develop innovative methods in Informatics.

The School of Computing and Informatics at Arizona State University wants to provide education in Informatics to the general student population and the community. We have launched the Informatics Certificate, which is a 20+ credit hour program that is designed to marry a studentís domain science (degree program) knowledge with studies in Informatics. Please see the certificate's website for more information.

Course Description:

Course covers the basic concepts and applications of informatics, which includes tools for

  • memory
  • routine activity
  • modeling, inference, and visualization
  • decision making and problem solving
  • communication, networking and interaction

Course Objectives and Outcomes:

  1. To use methods that store, index, and retrieve information on computers, as well as understand the basic principles behind their operation.

  2. To use methods for representing, creating, and running routine activities on computers, as well as understand the basic principles behind their operation.

  3. To use methods for modeling, inference, and visualization on computers, as well as understand the basic principles behind their operation.

  4. To use methods for decision making and problem solving on computers, as well as understand the basic principles behind their operation.

  5. To use methods for communication, networking, and interaction on computers, as well as understand the basic principles behind their operation.

This course is intended for students pursuing a Certificate in Informatics. (This course is not intended for Computer Science & Engineering majors.)

Text: None; Readings will be available on the web.

Prerequisites: None

Course Structure:

In each class period, a guest lecturers will introduce one element from the topics listed in 'Course Objective and Outcomes' above. Each topic will be motivated by a real-world informatics tool, and then this tool will be explored in more detail, in a more general framework. Please see the 'class schedule and announcements' page for a tentative schedule. The schedule will roughly follow the topics as ordered above, and end with areas for integrated applications.

We are very fortunate that so many faculty members have offered to come to our class and share their knowledge. Please attend each class, be on time, be attentive, and ask questions. (See Grading below.)

For some topics, we will explore the tools discussed via an exercise. These will be 1-3 hour exercises with a due date of about one week. The point of these exercises:

  • become familiar with several informatics tools,
  • gain an appreciation for the ability of computaional aids to allow us to do more and be more creative, and
  • have fun learning new things.

A few readings will be assigned. These readings will be coupled with the lectures, and we will use the discussion board to reflect and further explore them.


Class attendance: 40%
Exercises: 40%

Final: 20%

"Plus grades" (A+, B+, etc) are earned through above average class participation.

Final Grades: posted 14 Dec

Disability Resource Center:

Please check the website for ASU's Disability Resource Center for assistance. Students with special needs should contact the center a priori in order to secure assistance.

Academic Integrity:

The highest standards of academic integrity are expected of all students. The failure of any student to meet these standards may result in suspension or expulsion from the University or other sanctions as specified in the University Student Academic Integrity Policy.

Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, cheating, fabrication, tampering, plagiarism, or facilitating such activities.