Software Design (CSC-223 97F)

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Sample Problems

These are some sample problems for the final. Some are closely based on problems that are actually on the final, others test issues that I think it is important for you to consider. As you might guess, there will be problems on the final that cover topics other than those given here and that have different forms than those given here.

Regular Expressions

Write a regular expression for comments in C. In C, a comment begins with /* and ends with */. A comment cannot contain */ although it may contain another /*.

Mutual Generation

Write two classes, Alpha and Beta such that the main() routine of Alpha generates the code for Beta and vice versa. Neither program should read the source code of the other.

I will not tell you how to do this sample problem. If you did the appropriate homework, it should be trivial.


Using your input and output classes, sketch a program that one might use to format tables. The input to your program should be a file that contains:

Part of your goal in this problem is to determine a useful way to represent the form of the input.


Consider the documentation that Sun supplies for class XXXX. How is this documentation ambigious? What else is wrong with the documentation? How might you improve it?

Profiling and Makefiles

Suppose you've written a series of profiling classes, including

Assume that you wish to profile the class Alpha and that you may need to modify not just but also your profiling classes.

Write a makefile that can be used to automatically generate, a profiled (with annotations as to number of executions) version of

Associative Arrays

During class discussions, we came up with a number of benefits for using associative arrays, primarily in making it easier to do input, output, and debugging based on human-readable values. We also suggested that it might be possible to use normal arrays instead and "encode" each piece of text with a number.

Minimum Spanning Trees

An interesting problem one often encounters in dealing with graphs is that of finding the minimum spanning tree (MST) of a nonnegatively weighted graph. The MST is a subgraph spans the graph in that it is possible to find a path between any two nodes in the graph using only edges in the MST. The MST is the smallest such subgraph.

Human Factors and Document Conversion

Many people criticize the Microsoft Word HTML generation facility for being insufficiently general and failing to accomodate the needs of hypertext authors. For example, one might want to automatically split a Word document into separate nodes, one per section. Suggest how you might design a more appropriate translation scheme for word. Make sure that your answer describes features, presentation of those features, and process by which you would validate your design.


Upon implementing a variety of sorting algorithms in Java, you discover that they run significantly slower on our HP's than do corresponding versions written in Basic on old 80286s. Of particular concern is your quick sort routine.

Describe a process by which you might identify potential reasons for this slowness and improve the speed of your sorting routine.

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