Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Instructor Contact Info

Office: Poly Building Suite 203, Room 205

Email: or

Phone (office, voicemail): 626-396-6688

My public key

I use this.

What will we be studying in this class?

From the Course of Study:

The one-semester Advanced Topics in Computer Science course offers highly motivated students the opportunity to study topics that continue where the introductory computer science and AP Computer Science A courses leave off. Subjects of study include sorting and searching, algorithm analysis with 0-notation, stacks, queues, and linked lists, recursion, trees, and graphs. Development of these theoretical topics is reinforced by assignments, projects, and assessments that are hand written and/or coded on computers using the Python language.

How hard/fun/challenging is this course? Is it the right course for me?

For the 2016-2017 school year, Poly will be offering three computer science courses. You can get some idea of figuring out which courses might best suit you by looking at this Computer Science page. You should also talk to other people who have taken the class, as well as the instructor.

This particular class, Advanced Topics in Computer Science, is partly about coding, but more about math and computer science. We'll be exploring how arrays/lists are implemented using linked lists, and looking in greater depth at recursion, sorting, and searching. We'll be developing hash tables, and looking at more sophisticated data structures: trees and graphs.

This course has at a prerequisite an A- in either Introduction to Computer Programming or AP Computer Science. We'll be using Object-Oriented Python in this class, and the course will begin with an introduction to that language before immediately moving on to the good stuff.

If you have any questions or need further information, don't hesitate to contact the instructor.

What kind of computer should I have for this course?

You need a laptop running Apple's OS X, Microsoft's Windows, or Linux. For more specific information, see the Computers section in the Course Policies. If you're interested in buying a new computer, see this.

Who is the instructor for this course?

I was born in 1960 and spent my formative years growing up in the deserts of Arizona, playing in the dirt with scorpions. I moved to Southern California with my family when I was in high school, and have been here pretty much ever since.

cert_teacher I've attended UC Irvine, CSU Humboldt, CSU Dominquez Hills, and CSU San Bernardino and picked up some paperwork along the way: a Bachelor's in Geology, a California Teaching Credential, a Master's in Education... I'm a Google Certified Teacher/Innovator, and believe in the power of technology to enhance learning. I've been teaching for 30 years at independent, public, and Catholic schools in Pasadena, Berkeley, Yucca Valley, and Redondo Beach, respectively. I love my job. I like helping people figure out "that whole physics thing," as well as teaching computer science, and figuring out ways to use technology to make life and learning better.

In my spare time, I have a real life: reading, hanging out with friends, going to France, traveling, hiking with my son, visiting with relatives, seeing famous scientists, going climbing, playing with my dog, having adventures, listening to music... and doing physics problems and coding, of course!