Introduces the systematic study of algorithms and their analysis with regard to time and space complexity. Topics include divide-and-conquer, dynamic programming, greediness, randomization, upper and lower-bound analysis, and introduction to NP completeness. Emphasis is placed on general design and analysis techniques that underlie algorithmic paradigms. Builds a foundation for advanced work in computer science.
The primary textbook is Introduction to Algorithms (3rd. edition), written by Thomas H. Coren et al. (ISBN 978-0262033848).
Other articles and readings may be assigned. These will be posted on Moodle.
All assessments are distributed on and to be submitted on Moodle.
Homework problem sets will be issued roughly every week. These will primarily consist of problems the the textbook or be related to other readings. Homework sets are equally weighted. Written portions of homeworks are expected to be typed unless otherwise specified.
There will be 7-8 projects that differ in structure compared to standard homeworks. These may range from small amounts of literature review, to implementation of algorithms, to more creative tasks.
Interim exams will be take-home and open-book / open-note. There may be a time limit on portions of some exams. Exams are equally weighted.
The final is currently slated to be regularly-scheduled.
In lieu of a final, we will have a research project. Details will be issued in the fourth week. This project will be an exploration into a topic that is algorithmic in nature, culminating in a written report, presentation, and some programming artifacts. Given the size of the enrollment of the class, presentations will likely be recorded.
Select problems on homework sets may be completed in small groups. The names and extent of the collaboration should be noted for each such problem. Projects may be completed in groups of 1-3 students. Other work should be completed individually. As always, discussions considering broader course topics and concepts are permitted (and encouraged!)
Since all assignments are to be submitted online, it's easy enough to accept late homework, but it makes getting graded work back to you promptly difficult. Work submitted up to 24 hours late will be subject to a -30% penalty. Work submitted up to 48 hours late will be subject to a -50% penalty. No work will be accepted beyond this time.
Exams will not be accepted late.
Naturally, I am willing to work with you should health/family/personal emergencies arise, but should a scheduled event conflict with due dates or times, it is your responsibility to reach out to me to discuss submissions.
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Please be aware all Vassar faculty members are "responsible employees," which means that if you tell me about a situation involving sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, I must share that information with the Title IX Coordinator. Although I have to make that notification, you will control how your case will be handled, including whether or not you wish to pursue a formal complaint. Our goal is to make sure you are aware of the range of options available to you and have access to the resources you need.
If you wish to speak to someone privately, you can contact any of the following on-campus resources:
For your own education and for fairness to the rest of the students in the class, it is essential that you perform your work yourself and conduct yourself with honesty and integrity. Your written work must be your own, not plagiarized or closely paraphrased from other sources, including the internet. Please consult the handbook, "Going to the Source," to read more about Vassar's policies regarding originality, academic integrity, and attribution. When you use figures or images from other sources, you must properly attribute your sources. It is very easy and tempting to use the internet to assist you in completing assignments, so you must be very careful to ensure that your work for the course is the result of your own thinking and your own efforts.
Further I heartily encourage you to consult the Computer Science department's Student Integrity Policy: link.
Academic accommodations are available for students registered with the Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (AEO). Students in need of disability (ADA/504) accommodations should schedule an appointment with me early in the semester to discuss any accommodations for this course that have been approved by the Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity, as indicated in your AEO accommodation letter.