Informatics 1: Data & Analysis


Note: This page refers to a past version of the course. You can also consult the current course web page.

This is a level 8 taught course in the School of Informatics, suitable for first-year undergraduate students. The course provides an introduction to representing and interpreting data from areas across Informatics; treating in particular structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data models. For further details see the course catalogue entry.

Lectures: 11.10-12.00 Tuesdays and 14.00-14.50 Fridays in Appleton Tower during Semester 2. Tuesday lectures are in Lecture Theatre 3 and Friday lectures are in Lecture Theatre 1. You are strongly advised to attend all lectures.

The course blog carries information about the content of the lectures, tutorial work, references and further discussion of background material.

Links: Appleton Tower; Lecture Theatre 3; Lecture Theatre 1; Map

Contact: The course lecturer is Alex Simpson and the course teaching assistant is Aurora Constantin.

The most effective way to contact either the lecturer or teaching assistant is by personal email, from your University email address. However, many questions are better posed on the course blog.

Alex Simpson holds drop-in office hours for Informatics 1 students at 11.30–12.30 on Thursday mornings in IF 5.25 (Informatics Forum).
(Office hours held in Weeks 1, 4-5 and 7-12 of Semester 2 only.)

Tutorials: The course has 9 tutorials. These are held weekly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Weeks 3–5 and 7–12 inclusive. If you are ill or otherwise unable to attend one week then email your tutor, and if possible attend another tutorial group in the same week.

Links Tutorial groups

Tutorial exercises: These are released on the Tuesday of the week preceeding the tutorial. Tutorial exercises should be attempted in advance of tutorials. You should take your workings and solutions to tutorials for discussion.

Coursework assignment: The coursework assignment is a marked exercise, based on recent exam questions.

Link: More on coursework, assessment and feedback

Informatics 1: Data & Analysis is part of the first-year programme for all undergraduate degrees in the School of Informatics. During semester 2, students should also be taking Informatics 1: Object Oriented Programming. Please see the following links for more information.

Slides: These will be placed online as the course progresses. Last year's slides are a good resource if you want to read ahead in the course.

  • Introductory Lecture (pdf) - Lecture 1 (17 Jan):
  • Part I: Structured Data
    1. The ER Model (pdf) - Lectures 2-3 (20, 24 Jan)
    2. The Relational Model (pdf) - Lectures 3-4 (24, 27 Jan)
    3. Relational Algebra (pdf) - Lectures 5-6 (31 Jan, 7 Feb)
    4. Tuple Relational Calculus (pdf) - Lecture 6 (7 Feb)
    5. The SQL Query Language (pdf) - Lecture 7 (10 Feb)
  • Part II: Semistructured Data
    1. Semistructured data and XML (pdf) - Lecture 8 (14 Feb)
    2. Structuring XML (pdf) - Lecture 9 (17 Feb)
    3. XPath (pdf) - Lecture 10 (28 Feb)
    4. Corpora (pdf) - Lectures 11-12 (2, 6 Mar)
    5. Corpora: querying and applications (pdf) - Lectures 12-13 (6, 9 Mar)
  • Part III: Unstructured Data
    1. Information retrieval (pdf) - Lectures 14-15 (13, 16 Mar)
    2. Data scales & summary statistics (pdf) - Lecture 16 (20 Mar)
    3. Hypothesis testing & correlation (pdf) - Lecture 17 (23 Mar)
    4. Chi-squared & collocations (pdf) - Lecture 18 (27 Mar)
  • Exam information (pdf) - Lecture 19 (3 Apr):

Videos: Lectures have been video-recorded, with videos available online. You can also view the lectures from 2010 and 2011.

Note: Because of a data-entry error in the scheduling information, a few of this year's lectures mid course are missing due to the wrong lectures having been recorded in their place.

Link: Video this year; Video from 2010–2011 Video from 2009–2010

Examination: Your grade for Inf1-DA is based on a two-hour written examination at the end of the year. The paper follows an approximately similar format each year, and past papers are available online.

The exam is scheduled for Tuesday 8 May 2012, 09:30–11:30 in the Playfair Library. Please check the search link below to confirm all of your exam times.

Links: Search for exam times; Marks and grades; Past papers.

Revision office hours: Alex Simpson will hold drop-in revision office hours from 11.30–12.30 in IF 5.25 (Informatics Forum) on Tue 24 and Thu 26 April, and on Tue 1 and Thu 3 May.

Previous Years: The web pages for previous incarnations of the course include slides, reading material, and tutorial exercises.

Links: 2010–2011; 2009–2010; 2008–2009; 2007–2008; 2006–2007.

Home : Teaching : Courses : Inf1 : Da 

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Tel: +44 131 651 5661, Fax: +44 131 651 1426, E-mail:
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