CSCI-GA.1170-003/004 Fundamental Algorithms, Fall 2011
Lecturer: Prof. Yevgeniy
Dodis, dodiscs.nyu.edu, (212)
998-3084, room 413, WWH. Office hour: Monday 5-6
Meeting Time/Place: M 7-9, room 101, WWH.
Recitation Time/Place: W 7-8, room 101, WWH.
Recitation Instructor: Arka Prava Bandyopadhyay, apb321nyu.edu,
(212) 998-3153, Rm 425, WWH. Office hour: Tuesday, 5-7
Midterm: Monday, October 31, in class.
Final: Monday, December 19th, 7:10-9:00PM, Room 101, WWH.
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Course Homepage: http://cs.nyu.edu/courses/fall11/CSCI-GA.1170-003/index.html
Brief Course Description:
This is an introductory course in algorithms. We will cover standard
topics such as sorting, divide-and-conquer, various data structures,
graph algorithms, dynamic programming, greedy algorithms, and - time
permitting - NP-completeness and basic approximation algorithms. The
emphasis will be given to arguing the correctness of algorithms and
performing the analysis of their running time.
Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Cormen, Charles
E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, and Cliff Stein, published by MIT
You can get either the THIRD EDITION (recommended) or the
SECOND EDITION. The
exercises will refer to the THIRD edition.
There will be one in-class midterm and a final exam, in addition to
approximately weekly homework assignments. Tentative grade split is
40% homework, 25% midterm and 35% final exam.
Each homework grade will
consist of two parts: correctness and effort. The
correctness grade is a numeric grade equaling the sum of the
correctness grades for each homework problem, and roughly measures the
fraction of the homework correctly solved. In contrast, the
effort grade is a single number from 0% to 100%, and roughly measure
the effort level the student has put into solving the homework. This
grade will play an important role in the "overall" homework
evaluation, so students are encouraged to try as many problems as
possible. (Of course, simply restating the problem or intentionally
writing "nonsense" as a proposed "solution" might actually
lower your effort grade, so only put genuine thoughts and
attempts into your solutions.) Generally, I expect the effort grade to
be "higher" than the correctness grade.
Currently, I plan on not giving the final programming project. If this
changes, the details of the project will appear here.
Some of the homework exercises will be routine, but others will be
more challenging. I do not expect you to solve all of the homework
problems, but I hope that you will benefit from working on the more
difficult ones. Homework will be assigned on Mondays, and will be due
the following Monday. No late homework will be accepted. The solutions
will be handed out during the recitation of the week the
homework is due. We encourage the students to come to the recitation -
not only for the homework solutions, - but primarily to see examples
of the problems similar to those assigned for the following
A few hints on the homework assignments:
- Start early. Most problems will not be hard,
but others will be. Such more difficult problems are not
typically solved in one sitting. Start early and let the ideas
come to you over the course of a few days.
- Be rigorous. Each problem has a (sometimes
unwritten) requirement that you prove your algorithm
correct and analyze its running time. To obtain full
credit for a problem, it is necessary to fulfill these
requirements. We expect real proofs and real analyses, not
"proof by hand waving."
- Be concise. Express your algorithms at the
proper level of detail. Give enough details to clearly present your
solution, but not so many that the main ideas are
obscured. English is often a good way to express an
algorithm; pseudocode is good for communicating complex control
- Collaboration? You are encouraged to
solve all the homework questions on your own, but are
permitted to brainstorm difficult problems in small
groups, as long as each of you writes the solutions
individually and honestly acknowledges the cooperation.
Needless to say, if you work with others but never come up with
the solution on your own, you may do OK in the homework
component of your grade, but you will suffer on exams, so be
- Bibles? Help? More or less, you are only
allowed to use the textbook and your lecture notes. In
particular, the use of internet, course bibles, outsiders, and
other clearly "cheating" resources is strictly prohibited.
Please talk to me if you are having
problems keeping up with the material.