Just a picture

Lectures on Mondays and Thursdays 1:30-2:40 PM in E111.

Ads displayed below are for educational purposes


Course Description for CS315

In the last fifteen years we have experienced an explosive growth of information through the web. Locating information seems to be very easy, while determining the quality of information can be tricky. This course is for students who want to know why do search engines can answer your queries fast and (most of time) accurately, why other times do they seem to be missing the point and provide untrustworthy information, and how one can design a web site that acquires high visibility on the web. We will cover traditional information retrieval methods and web search algorithms such as crawlers and spiders, with a focus on probabilistic and graph-theoretic methods that can detect web spam. We will also cover some basic understanding of text mining and data clustering. Time permitting, we will examine other relevant issues of the information explosion era, such as the shape and structure of the web, epistemology of information and properties of large random networks.

Instructor: Prof. Takis Metaxas. Lectures on Tuesdays and Fridays at 2:40PM in SCI104. Office Hours: See Prof. Metaxas' web site

Class Group:There is a class group named CS315-01-SP15. This group has several purposes. I will use it to make class announcements, such as corrections to assignments and clarifications of material discussed in class. We encourage you to post questions or comments that are of interest to students in the course.


We will use chapters of the following books:

TBL: Weaving the Web, by Tim Berners-Lee, HarperOne, 1999 (required)
MRS: Introduction to Information Retrieval, by C. Manning, P. Raghavan, and H. Sch├╝tze, Cambridge University Press, July, 2008 (required)
EK: Networks, Crowds and Markets, by David Easley and Jon Kleinberg, Cambridge University Press, 2010 (required)

We will also use several research papers including the ones in the following local research papers collection.

Each lecture is linked to printable class notes (pdf). If you would like to use them to keep notes feel free to print them before class or download them on your device.


Course Requirements

The course will require significant reading and critical analysis of textbook chapters and research papers. Your performance will be evaluated by your presence and contributions to class discussions, written and programming assignments, an in-class midterm exam, and a term paper.

You must compose your own solution to each assignment and exam. You may discuss strategies for approaching the assignments (not the exams) with your classmates and may receive general debugging advice from them, but you are required to write up your own solutions and debug all of your code. Of course, you should never look at another student's assignment solutions or code.


Item Date Grade
Class Participation & Presentation Continuous 10%
Assignments Fridays 40%
Midterm Exam Tue Mar 17 25%
Term paper Reading Period 25%

There is no final exam for this course.

Term Paper

In this class you will have the opportunity to explore a topic related to the material we discuss and write a research or survey paper with your results. Below are a few topics, provided to help you choose the theme of your topic.

By date (TBD) you should form a team of 2-4 students and choose a topic. During the last classes each team will give a short 10 min presentation on the paper, explaining a starter paper (TBD) and describing how you plan to go about researching the topic. At that time you should have decided on at least two more papers to include in your research.

(Partial) List of Topics

  • The economic models of Social Web companies
  • How the Social Web affects social issues
  • Technologies and results of microfinancing
  • Learning technologies and effectiveness in the era of MOOCs
  • How the interfaces of social network applications affect usability and (mis)information propagation
  • Issues related to information quality and credibility in the Social Web
  • Privacy issues in the Web and the Social Web
  • What can be predicted with Social Media
  • The potential of Human Computation and the use of Amazon Turkers
  • How authorship, creativity and intelectual property is affected by the Web and Social Web


Special Needs: If you have any disabilities, including learning disabilities, you are encouraged to meet with your instructor to discuss accommodations that may be helpful to you.