Fall 2019 CS231
This is a course about algorithms; their design and analysis
The language of computer science is to a great extent the language of algorithms. Although there are many thousands of algorithms, there are relative few basic design techniques. These include: divide-and-conquer, greedy, dynamic programming, and network flow. We will illustrate these techniques by studying a few fundamental algorithms of each type. In addition to helping us understand classic solution techniques, these algorithms have proven very useful in practice. Their names and the names of the problems they solve have become a standard part of the language of computer science.
Unfortunately, there is rarely a best algorithm to solve a given problem. Each approach involves a series of tradeoffs. Therefore, we will also study methods for evaluating the usefulness of an algorithm in a given situation. Among the various competing measures, we will focus primarily on the anal- ysis of time and space complexity. However, a number of other issues will also be discussed.
Labor Day: no classes
Lecture 1: Introduction
Part I - Basics
Lecture 2: More on data structuresReading: Pages 9 to 20 in this and all of that
Lecture 3: Priority QueuesReading: Section 2.5
Lecture 4: Asymptotic Order of GrowthReading: Sections 2.1 and 2.2
Lecture 5: Stable matchingReading: Section 1.1 and 2.3
Assignment 1 due at 11:59PM (via Gradescope)
Lecture 6: Stable matching (2)Reading: Section 1.1 and 2.3
Part II - Graphs
Lecture 7: Graph representationReading: Section 3.1
Assignment 2 due at 11:59PM (via Gradescope)
Lecture 8: Graph TraversalReading: Sections 3.2 and 3.3
Lecture 9: Back to complexity analysisReading: Sections 3.2 and 3.3
Lecture 10: Directed graphs Reading: Sections 3.5 and 3.6
Part III - Greedy Algorithms
Lecture 11: Interval scheduling (1)Reading: Section 4.1
Lecture 12: More on schedulingReading: Sections 4.1 and 4.2
Lecture 13: Scheduling to minimize latenessReading: Section 4.2
Lecture 14: Graphs, again!Reading: Section
Lecture 16: Counting InversionsReading: Section
Part V - Dynamic Programming
Lecture 18: Basics and PrinciplesReading: Sections 6.1 and 6.2
Lecture 20: The Knapsack problemReading: Sections
Part VI - Invited Lectures
Lecture 22: Network Flow
Lecture 23: Computational intractability and NP-Completeness
Final Paper due
Enjoy your break :)
Prerequisites The prerequisite for CS231 is CS230 and Math 225. Students with significant mathematical experience (writing and understanding proofs), or those who have not taken Math 225 need the permission of the instructor.
Textbook - Very Important!! The readings will be assigned from the required text, Algorithm Design, by by Jon Kleinberg and Eva Tardos, 1st edition. It is required that you read the relevant sections before every lecture.
Computers No programming will be done as part of this course. You will need your computers, however, to type your assignments. You are expected to use Latex for typesetting all assignments in this course.
Assignment Submission This semester we will be using GradeScope for all all CS231 assignments submissions. Assignments will be submitted weekly, in pdf format, to their corresponding directories. You will receive an email with more details after the first class.
We will be using Piazza for all course communications, and student discussions. You will also receive an invitation to join the course Piazza page after the first class. We encourage you to post questions or comments that are of interest to students in the course.
The instructors and TAs will read messages posted in the page on a regular basis and post answers to questions found there. If you know the answer to a classmate's question, feel free to post a reply yourself. The Pizza page is also a good place to find people to join a study group. You should plan on reading group meetings on a regular basis.
Lectures There are two 70-minute lectures each week that will introduce the main content of the course. Lectures are held on Mondays and Thursdays at 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM in E111.
Discussion Sections Similar to Supplemental Instruction (SI), discussion sections is a support program offered for selected Wellesley courses. Our discussion leaders are trained and highly experienced in tutoring. They will offer study sections throughout the semester. During discussion sections, they will cover problem set solutions and review important concepts. Discussion sections are open to all students enrolled in the course. We highly recommend attending at least one of these sections every week, as well as reviewing the handouts used in them.
Final Presentations and Paper: During the last few weeks of the semester, teams of 3 students work on a short survey paper. After choosing an interesting algorithmic problem, you will first read related literature on the topic, and summarize your findings into a short scientific paper (5 pages). Each team will present their work in a final presentation during the last class, and will prepare a short paper to be submitted by the last day of exams.
Exams: There will be two in-class, non-collaborative exams that are open book and open notes. There will be no final exam, as there will be a final presentation and paper instead. The dates of the exams are listed on the schedule. Please mark the exam dates in your calendars as they are not flexible.
Final Grades Your final grade for the course will be computed as a weighted average of several components. The relative weight of each component is shown below:
If you have a disability or condition, either long-term or temporary, and need
reasonable academic adjustments in this course, please contact Accessibility
and Disability Resources (ADR) to get a letter outlining your accommodation needs,
and submit that letter to me. You should request accommodations as early as
possible in the semester, or before the semester begins, since some situations
can require significant time for review and accommodation design. If you need
immediate accommodations, please arrange to meet with me as soon as possible.
If you are unsure but suspect you may have an undocumented need for accommodations,
you are encouraged to contact (ADR). They can provide assistance including screening
and referral for assessments.
Disability Services can be reached at email@example.com, at 781-283-2434, by scheduling an appointment online at their website, https://www.wellesley.edu/adr or by visiting their offices on the 3rd floor of Clapp Library, rooms 316 and 315.
Q: How can we memorize all of these algorithms before the exam?
A: The exam is open book / notes. No need to memorize anything.
Q: How long will the exam be?
A: It's only 70 minutes long. Definitely shorter than the assignments!
Q: How will the questions look like?
A: A mix of things, but it'll never be a type of problem, in which you write the algorithm to solve a new problem, and analyze it.
Q: If the problem doesn't ask us to prove the correctness of the algorithm, then we don't have to write a proof. Right?
A: Yes, you don't have to write a proof. However, what if your algorithm was incorrect? Showing us your reasoning would give you partial credit. Just a simple explanation of your reasoning would suffice.
Q: Should I write the algorithm in English? Or do I have to explain the data structures that I am using?
A: If you are not required to show the data structures that you'll be using, then you can just explain the algorithm in English. Remember, if you are asked to analyze the running time complexity of the algorithm, thinking about which data structures to use matter.
Q: Do I have to use the latex template provided?
A: Yes, you do.