The Big Ideas Behind CS 61AS

This class is full of Big Ideas! Here are the first two:

  • The purpose of this course is to help you learn.
  • The staff are here to help you succeed.

If at any point you feel like this isn't the case, speak up! The following are all effective methods for getting help:

  • Speak to a staff member in lab
  • Post on Piazza
  • Go to a TA's office hours
  • Email a TA

Big Ideas

In 61AS, we will explore many Big Ideas that underlie all of Computer Science. Here are some of the big ones:

  • Functions: To start off with, we'll think of programs as combinations of functions. We'll examine what a function is and what we can use them for.
  • Data: Data is another thing essential to programs. Making data the central focus of our programs leads to powerful results.
  • State: We'll then answer the question, "How do we program assuming we can change things over time?"
  • Interpreters: We go into how an interpreter works, and we'll even write our own. We'll also consider a few other interpreters and see what they all have in common.
  • Programming Paradigms: We explore alternate ways of thinking about programs.


In this section, we learned about the Big Ideas behind CS 61AS. Everything we'll cover in this class falls into one of these categories.