Laboratory for Brain and Machine Intelligence

Laboratory for Brain and Machine Intelligence @ KAIST

Laboratory for brain and machine intelligence, KAIST

Bio-Data Structures (2016 Fall Bis232)

Course Summary

How do we translate an imaginative idea into something that is actually working? This course puts great emphasis on developing the ability to put into practice ideas and concepts of biology and brain science. The first half of the course provides a concise introduction to the classic of modern programming languages, C++. The second half of the course covers basic types of data structures. Each week consists of the following components:

  • Textbook contents (typical of other basic programming courses)
  • Toying with abstract ideas (Marvin Minsky’s models of minds)
  • Case study (engineering/biology examples)

Students are expected to develop their abilities to translate various biological concepts into building blocks of programs.

Lecture Room

Rm.#219 (E16 ChungMoonSoul B/D)


Mondays and Wednesdays 10:30-12:00


Sang Wan Lee (, Rm.#1117 E16, T. 4334)

Office Hours

Tuesday and Thursdays 11 AM – noon

Teaching Assistant

Jaehyun Lee, Junseok Park, Jongyeol Baek, Gwangmin Kim, Yongrae Cho



3 units (3:0:0).




- Quiz (20%)
- Midterm exam (20%)
- Program assignment - individual work (20%)
- Brainstorming workshop – team work (10%)
- Final term project – individual work (30%)


Fundamentals of Data Structures in C++, by Horowitz, Sahni, Mehta.


Not allowed unless there is any special reason.

Lecture Schedule

  • Math camp : is a short course focusing on special topics in matrix computation relevant to the class.
  • Program camp I : consists of two Q&A sessions with TAs, who will give you advice about the program assignment. Take it easy!
  • Program camp II : consists of two Q&A sessions with TAs, who will give you advice about the final term project. Take it easy!
  • Program camp III : On Monday you will be given a problem set, and you team up with your classmates to brainstorm ideas to implement a large scale system. On Wednesday, each team gives a short presentation to "discuss" your work plan. Actual implementation is not required, so take it easy!
  • (+) : refers to seminars you might be interested in, discussing
    - how to model our behavior (Computational psychiatry workshop)
    - how to represent our knowledge (BCE seminar by Minlie Huang from Tsinghua Univ.)
    - how to decipher our brain's code (Neural code workshop)
    Earn extra points by submitting a half-page report to TA. Enjoy!

Week 1
- Introduction : abstraction, building blocks, and biological systems
- WED case study : installation and setup

Week 2
- Class & Object
- Abstract ideas of the week : parts, wholes, and hierarchies
- WED case study : no class (Korean thanksgiving)

Week 3
- Loop & Recursion
- Abstract ideas of the week : self-control, causality, and inference
- WED case study : bio natural language processing

Week 4
- Vector, Array, Pointer, Friend, Member, Virtual & Template
- Abstract ideas of the week : deep networks, difference engines, and memory systems
- WED case study : text generation - part I

Week 5
- No class on Monday (the national foundation day)
(+) WED case study : replaced with International workshop on computational psychiatry (10:30-17:30, Dream Hall)

Week 6
*Math camp: matrix computation 101

Week 7
*Program camp I : drafting plans for the program assignment

(Week 8)
Midterm exam week (midterm exam, program assignment due)

Week 9
- Introduction to data structures
- WED case study : text generation - part II, a 15-min chat with Dr. Mattia Rigotti (IBM TJ Watson)
(+) WED special seminar series : Neural computation workshop (14:00-17:30, Dream Hall)

Week 10
- Arrays
- Abstract ideas of the week : operation, modularity, structure, and function
- WED case study : biological pathway and interaction

Week 11
- Stack & Queue
- Abstract ideas of the week : competition and cooperation
- WED case study : online coding practice and challenge

Week 12
- Linked List
Abstract ideas of the week : reasoning and recognition
- WED case study : no class (undergraduate interview day)
(+) TUE BCE special seminar : New approaches for representing text and knowledge (Prof. Minlie Huang, Tsinghua University; 16:30-17:30, Room 219)

Week 13
- Tree & Graph
Abstract ideas of the week : skinnerian, popperian, and gregorian agents
- WED case study : coding in time and frequency domain (Fourier transform and high/low pass filtering)

Week 14
*Program camp II : drafting plans for the final term project

Week 15
*Program camp III : brainstorming workshop

(Week 16)
Final exam week (no exam, final term project due)


Dropbox (the instructor and TAs only)