MEBI 550: Grading and other policies

Course format

The course meets for two lecture/classroom sessions per week, each one hour and 20 minutes. Approximately 6 hours of outside time are expected to devote to homework, reading and study. There will be several homework assignments, and either a final examination or final project report.


No single text covers all the material of the course. Most of the core material will be covered in draft chapters in the instructor's forthcoming book, "Principles of Biomedical Informatics". Paul Graham's "ANSI Common Lisp", is recommended for learning Common Lisp and as a reference for the Common Lisp language. This book is available at the University of Washington Bookstore and other fine bookstores. Additional readings on some topics will be assigned from the research literature.

Other resources

The Informatics computing lab of the Biomedical and Health Informatics Graduate Program provides a Linux system with a Common Lisp programming environment. To obtain an account and learn about access, after registering for the course, contact Gary Csorgo (, the Informatics Lab Manager.


Each student is expected to complete each assignment by the indicated due date. Homework assignments should be the individual work of each student, although you are allowed to discuss the assignments with each other.

There will be either a Final Exam or a Project. Each quarter this is decided before the quarter begins. The exam, when given, will consist of problems or programming exercises similar to the homework. The project is work chosen by each student, to represent substantial application of a topic or topics learned in the class. Projects are presented orally during the scheduled Final Exam period, and are also expected to be submitted by that time as written reports.

All students are expected to abide by the University of Washington's Statement on Academic Honesty


The course is graded; the grade is based on the homework assignments, the final exam or final project, and class participation.

The homework assignments collectively will comprise 60% of your grade, and the exam or project will be 20%. The remaining 20% will be based on class participation.

Class participation

This class is small, with a lot of opportunity for participation. You are expected to observe common courtesy, listen carefully to whomever is speaking, avoid potentially hurtful or insulting comments, show respect to everyone in the room. Although computing may seem to be a dry topic on which little can be discussed, it is my experience that there is a lot to talk about, and I am open to a wide range of questions and ideas.