CS4478Y - Master the Mainframe


The University of Western Ontario London, Canada


Department of Computer Science


CS 4478Y - Master the Mainframe

Course Outline - Fall 2018 & Winter 2019




Course Description

The mainframe remains a critical piece of infrastructure for enterprise computing, with experts highly sought after by industry. Top insurance organizations, banks, airline companies, and the like, use mainframes. Mainframe computers are  used primarily by large corporations for critical applications; bulk data processing, such as census, industry and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning; and transaction processing.

Through this course, students will be exposed to real-world development and usage scenarios through hands-on projects, gaining valuable experience and skills for working with modern mainframe systems. IBM provides access to mainframe hardware and software through their annualMaster the Mainframe” program. As an added bonus, this program is organized as a competition too, so there are prizes based on your performance at the same time.

Students interested in pursuing this course must first register (sign up) with IBM in order to take on the problem solving challenges. Further details on the structure of the challenges and registration can be found here: https://masterthemainframe.com/

Additional information on the mainframes can be found here: http://www.ibm.com/systems/z/masterthemainframe.




Lecture Hours: 9:30 - 10:30pm, Wednesdays, MC  300

(Note: no formal lectures; and classes held as announced by the instructor)


Prerequisites: Computer Science 3307A/B/Y or permission of the Department.


Antirequisites: Computer Science 4434A/B/Y if taken during Fall/Winter  2014.



Note: Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment   to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.




Instructor  Information


Instructor:       Nazim Madhavji

Office:              MC 381

Office Hours: anytime via email.

E-Mail:              madhavji <at> gmail <dot> com




Course Texts


There are no required texts for this course. To assist with project development, there are many excellent references available   online.

While printed books are also available from many retailers, they quickly get out of date, and so it is difficult to require you to purchase one.


References and suggested readings may be provided during the course.





Lecture time will not be used for the delivery of lectures in the traditional sense. Instead, this time will be primarily used for organizing and tracking the status of projects. Consequently, classes will be held as necessary and will be announced via OWL or through emails.



Course Website

Besides this course webpage, the rest of the Western-related communications and resources will be though the OWL system: http://owl.uwo.ca. You are responsible for reading this information  frequently. The mainframe challenge-specific information will be through the coordinator at IBM.



Computing Facilities


Each student will have access to an account on the Computer Science Department senior undergraduate computing facility, GAUL.   In accepting the GAUL account, a student agrees to abide by the department's Rules of Ethical Conduct.


Note: After-hours access to certain Computer Science lab rooms is by student card. If a student card is lost, a replacement card will   no longer open these lab rooms, and the student must bring the new card to the Systems Group. Likewise, if a student card ceases to provide access where it should, it should be brought to the Systems Group as   well.




E-Mail Contact


We will occasionally need to send e-mail messages to the whole class, or to students individually. E-Mail will be sent to the UWO e- mail address assigned to students by Information Technology Services (ITS), i.e. your e-mail address @uwo.ca. It is each student's responsibility to read this e-mail on a frequent and regular basis, or to have it forwarded to an alternative e-mail address if preferred. See the ITS website for directions on forwarding e-mail.


However, you should note that e-mail at ITS (your UWO account) and other e-mail providers may have quotas or limits on the amount of space they can use. If you let your e-mail accumulate there, your mailbox may fill up and you may lose important e-mail from your instructors. Losing e-mail that you have forwarded to an alternative e-mail address is not an excuse for not knowing about the information that was sent.


Wherever you receive e-mail, be sure to configure your spam filter to allow e-mail from the instructor's e-mail address given above. Otherwise, important messages could get trapped by your spam filter and missed. This is also not an excuse for not knowing about information that has been sent.




Student Evaluation


Your course grade will be based on the performance in the IBM Master the Mainframe program. All challenges are of equal weight. The CS4478Y instructor will receive from the IBM coordinator, for each registered student, the number of challenges successfully carried out. This will be converted by the course instructor into a course grade for CS4478Y.


If you are unable to meet a course requirement due to illness or other serious circumstances, you must provide valid medical or other supporting documentation to the Academic Counselling office of your home Faculty as soon as possible and contact your instructor immediately. It is the student's responsibility to make alternative arrangements with their instructor once the accommodation has been approved and the instructor has been informed. For further information please see: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/accommodation_medical.pdf.

A student requiring academic accommodation due to illness should use the Student Medical Certificate when visiting an off-campus medical facility or an Accommodation Certificate from Student Health Services. The Student Medical Certificate form can be found here:    https://studentservices.uwo.ca/secure/medical_document.pdf.



As described above, project work will be assigned through the IBM Master the Mainframe program. Students are expected to adhere to deadlines and standards set in this program.



Ethical Conduct

Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following web site: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_undergrad.pdf.


Plagiarism: Students must write their essays and assignments in their own words. Whenever students take an idea, or a passage from another author, they must acknowledge their debt both by using quotation marks where appropriate and by proper referencing such as footnotes or citations. Plagiarism is a major academic offence. Please note, however, that students are not allowed to make use of the work of others unless explicitly instructed to do so in the description of an assignment.


All projects are to be exclusively your own work. While project work requires you to work in teams, each team is expected to act individually. You may discuss approaches to problems among yourselves; however, the actual details of the work (coding, documentation, etc.) must be an individual effort. Incidents that are judged to be the result of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Undergraduate Chair. The selection of penalty to be applied is up to the Chair, with consultation of the instructor.


The standard departmental penalty for assignments that are judged to be the result of academic dishonesty is, for the student's first offence, a mark of zero for the assignment, with an additional penalty equal to the weight of the assignment also being applied. You are responsible for reading and respecting the Department of Computer Science's policy on Scholastic Offenses. and Rules of Ethical Conduct.


The University of Western Ontario uses software for plagiarism checking. Students may be required to submit their written work and programs in electronic form for plagiarism checking.


All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and Turnitin.com (http://www.turnitin.com/).



Accessibility Statement


Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 661-2111 x 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.



Support Services


Learning-skills counsellors at the Student Development Centre (http://www.sdc.uwo.ca) are ready to help you improve your learning skills. They offer presentations on strategies for improving time management, multiple-choice exam preparation/writing, textbook reading, and more. Individual support is offered throughout the Fall/Winter terms in the drop-in Learning Help Centre, and year-round through individual counseling.


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Mental Health@Western (http://www.health.uwo.ca/mental_health) for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.


Additional student-run support services are offered by the USC, http://westernusc.ca/services.


The website for Registrarial Services is  http://www.registrar.uwo.ca.