CMSC451 Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms (Section 0101), Spring 2019
Class Venue and Time: ESJ 1202, TuTh 11AM - 12:15PM
tl;dr -- Students: please add
yourselves to the Piazza page for
the class! We will use Piazza extensively.
Office: IRB 4164, Phone: 301-405-2695
Instructor's Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:30-4:30 in IRB 4164, or by
appointment (please email Aravind)
TAs: Suhas Amireddy, Aounon Kumar, Jerry Peng, Leonidas Tsepenekas, George Tong, and Pan Xu
TA Office Hours:
Mon (10-11, 2-4), Tue 4-6, Wed 2-3, Thu 1:30-2:30, and Fri 2-3 at AVW 4101/4103
Course Time and Location: Tue, Thu
11-12:15, ESJ 1202
Textbook, Lecture Notes and Related Resources
The required textbook is
Algorithm Design by Kleinberg and Tardos.
We may also occasionally use, among others, the
following excellent publicly-available resources:
We thank the authors for these very-helpful resources.
Aravind's Pledge to the Students
Your education is very important to me, and I respect each of you regardless
of how you do in the class. My expectations of you are that you attend class
and pay full attention, and give enough time to the course.
I strongly encourage you to ask questions in class,
and to come to the office hours (mine or the TAs')
with any further questions. We can have a
very enjoyable educational experience if you pay attention
in class, give sufficient time to our course,
and bring any difficulties you have promptly to our attention. I look forward
to our interaction both inside and outside the classroom.
This course presents the fundamental techniques for designing efficient computer algorithms, proving their correctness,
and analyzing their complexity. General topics include the following.
CMSC 351 is the prerequisite. Each student is expected to know the basic concepts of programming (e.g. loops, pointers, recursion), discrete mathematics (proof by induction, sets), simple data structures (lists, stacks, queues, trees, heaps), and calculus (logarithms, differentiation, integration).
We will assume knowledge of the basic algorithm-analysis techniques
covered in CMSC 351.
All course materials, including the homeworks, will be
posted on Piazza.
The coursework will consist of 5-6 homework
assignments and three exams (two midterms and a
comprehensive final). Homework problems will be mathematically oriented.
- Recap of the math background
- Graph algorithms
- Basic algorithm design paradigms such as
- Dynamic programming
- Greedy algorithms
- Lower bounds
- Approximation algorithms
- Randomized algorithms
- Quantum Algorithms
- A brief statement on sustainability:
Since Information Technology has become a significant consumer of energy and a major source of greenhouse gases, we will also cover the energy-efficiency
of algorithms. The growth rate of the electricity use of all forms of information-technology use in the US is more than twelve times the growth rate of the
total US electricity usage. Hence, algorithms designed with an eye toward their
resource use and energy footprint hold out the possibility of making a good dent
in energy costs and in greenhouse-gas emissions. We will hence also study models for algorithms that are more resource-efficient.
Homeworks are to be turned in at the start of class on the due date. Since
homework solutions will be handed out on the day the homework is due,
no late homeworks will be accepted.
You can discuss homeworks with other students, but with no help from the
Web or other sources.
Assignments are to be written up independently by each student, regardless of
If you have questions, please talk to the TA or the Instructor.
It is your responsibility to make sure
that you pick up all homeworks and handouts. All course information and
handouts will be available on Piazza.
Grading, Homework, and Exams
Final grades will be based on homework assignments, the two midterm exams, and the comprehensive final exam with relative weights as follows:
- Homework: 30% (Your lowest HW score will be
- Midterm 1 (Mar 5, 2019; 11-12:15): 15%
- Midterm 2 (Apr 18, 2019; 11-12:15): 15%
- Final exam: 40%
- Date: Thursday, May 16, 8-10 AM
- All exams will be held in the classroom. Grades will follow a curve; in
my typical 451 classes, the median score received a B- or C+, but this can change slightly.
Students are strongly encouraged to complete their course evaluations;
please do so at the CourseEvalUM
website when it is ready.
Academic Accommodations for Disabilities
Any student eligible for and requesting reasonable academic accommodations
due to a disability is requested to provide, to the instructor in office
hours, a letter of accommodation from the Office of Disability Support
Services (DSS) within the first two weeks of the semester.
Excused Absences, Academic Integrity, and Additional Info.
Please see the university's policies on various important issues. Specifically, any student who needs to be excused from a mid-term or the final exam, must provide
written documentation of the illness from the Health Center or from an outside health-care provider.