Module code: COM1029

Module Overview

Appropriate choices of data structures can expedite algorithm efficiency and also aid clear thinking when designing algorithms. It is thus natural for data structures to be studied with algorithms. An algorithm is a sequence of steps for performing some process.  A computer program is not an algorithm but a representation of an algorithm. There is a need to be able to create effective algorithms, quantify their efficiency and classify them independently of any computing system or language.

Module provider

Computer Science and Electronic Eng

Module Leader

CHOCKLER Gregory (CS & EE)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 74

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 4

Laboratory Hours: 18

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

This module considers various data structures such as lists, stacks, queues, trees and graphs and the abstract data types on which they are based. The module also discusses algorithms. It defines a scheme for quantifying algorithm efficiency, devoid of any computing system or language. Several approaches for algorithm design are studied such as recursion, divide and conquer, brute force and greedy strategies. Towards the end of the module the classification of algorithms and the problems they solve is explored. The module finally concludes by asking how future technological developments could change the way we perceive algorithms.


Main topics

Abstract data types: discussed in general.

Basic data Structures: lists, linked-lists, stacks, queues, implementation/applications of these.

Trees: general trees ordered trees, multiway trees, implementations of trees, tree traversal, path lengths.

Binary trees: internal and external nodes, binary tree depth, logs.

Binary tree applications: expression trees, binary search trees, heaps, Huffman data compression.

Graphs: undirected/directed, connected, weakly/strongly connected, complete), adjacency matrix/list, topological ordering, weighted graphs/networks, path lengths, Dijkstra’s Algorithm, depth/breadth-first, traversals, minimum spanning trees, Prim’s Algorithm, Kruskal’s Algorithm.

Algorithm Efficiency: Big ‘Oh’, common time complexities, log time, binary search v linear search Recursion: why use it, the ground rules, Merge Sort in detail, Towers of Hanoi in detail.

Sorting: Bubble-, Selection-, Insertion-, Shell-, Bucket-, Radix-, Heap-, Quick-, external sorting.

Hashing: searching, hash function & table, collisions, separate chaining and open addressing.

Algorithm design strategies: brute force, greedy, divide and conquer, dynamic programming, incremental, probabilistic.

Algorithm and problem classification:  polynomial and exponential time, reasonable and unreasonable algorithms, tractable and intractable problems, the future.

  • You should be clear that the Algorithms material in the module is NOT intended to be a review of a comprehensive range of specific algorithms. Nevertheless, a limited number of specific algorithms within the areas of searching and sorting will be examined


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
School-timetabled exam/test Invigilated Test (2hrs) 20
Examination Invigilated Exam (2hrs) 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Computer-based test in week 6

  • A 2-hour examination testing all learning outcomes

Formative assessment and feedback

The use of electronic voting handsets offers formative feedback opportunities throughout the module. Verbal feedback is also given in lab sessions as the students attempt the lab exercises. Feedback will also be provided on the in-semester test.

Module aims

  • Discover and examine various abstract data types (ADT).
  •  Explore data structures based on those ADTs, including implementation and applications of  such data structures.
  • Explore algorithms as abstractions - independent of any computing facility.
  • Examine what is involved in creating algorithms and quantifying their efficiency.
  • Examine the importance of algorithm efficiency.
  • Examine the action of a small number of specific algorithms particularly in the areas sorting and searching.
  • Explore various strategies for algorithm design and argue about their correctness.
  •  Classify algorithms.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Choose the appropriate data structure for a particular application.  CP
002  Be familiar with the big Oh measure of algorithm efficiency.  K
003  Know what is meant by recursive and non-recursive algorithms.  K
004 Describe a number of searching strategies and trace any of the taught hashing schemes.  KC
005 Use any of the taught sorting methods.  KCP
006 Understand recursion and polymorphism and be able to use them in simple algorithm design.  CP
007 Distinguish between different algorithm design strategies. CP
008 Discuss the classification of algorithms and problems.  KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills and practical experience covering the module aims and learning outcomes.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Weekly lectures

  • Weekly lab session, including one lab session for the in-semester test

The lab sessions will put into practice the theoretical concepts covered in the lectures.

A test will be used during the course to ensure the student has assimilated the material during the course.

  • Students will be expected to spend a minimum of 2 hours a week on self-study

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: COM1029

Other information

Digital Capabilities

This foundational computer science module teaches students to work with a range of complex data structures such as trees and graphs and classic algorithms such as sorting. These data structures and algorithms form the basic building blocks of computer programmes, providing students with the skills to choose the right data structure for a problem and apply it to the problem.


This module provides foundational maths, and computer science skills that are the first steps to applying algorithmic techniques to solving real life problems. Students are taught about how different data structures function and algorithms that work well with these data structures. This is foundational to programming and development and is highly valued by  employers.

Global and Cultural Skills

Computer Science is a global language and the tools and languages used on this module can be used internationally. This module allows students to learn about and with data structures and algorithms that are truly global concepts. It will allow them to reason about and develop applications with global reach and collaborate with their peers around the world.

Resourcefulness and Resilience

This module provides knowledge of complex data structures and classical algorithms. By applying these techniques, students gain new insight into how to reason about and develop an efficient solution for new unseen problems.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Computing and Information Technology BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Computer Science BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Computer Science MEng 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.