CMSC 858C, Randomized Algorithms, Spring 2017: Tue, Thu 9:30-10:45AM, CSI 3120

Administrative Details

Instructor: Aravind Srinivasan
Office: AVW 3263, Phone: 301-405-2695
Instructor's office Hours: Tue, Thu 1-2 in AVW 3263 (additional slots by appointment; Aravind is happy to talk to students)
Course Time and Location: Tue, Thu 9:30-10:45AM, CSIC 3120
Half-TA: Khoa Trinh
Course Webpage:

tl;dr -- Students: please add yourselves to the Piazza page for the class! We will use Piazza extensively.

Approximate schedule: The approximate schedule thus far is here. We will largely cover a range of topics similar to the Spring 2015 offering: please see here for that 2015 schedule. Some major paradigms underlying the utility of randomization are marked in green. In addition, we will place an emphasis on the probabilistic method (which, in addition to significant interest in its own right, serves as an excellent vehicle to learn probabilistic-analysis techniques).

There will be no required textbook for this course; we will distribute notes for a good part of the class, with students studying these notes at home and with many classes devoted to problem-solving after a quick recap of the notes. Four excellent books in this field are:

Grading: We will have a take-home mid-term and in-class final. The grade will be determined by: Homework 30%, Mid-term 25%, Final 35%, and Class Project 10%. Enthusiastic participation is strongly encouraged.

Homework and Handouts: We will have some graded and some ungraded homework assignments. Students will work in groups of three for all graded homework assignments, and are also urged to complete the ungraded assignments (solutions to which will be provided).

Some basic inequalities

HW1, due Feb 14th
HW2, due Mar 2nd
HW3, due Mar 13th
HW4, due May 8th
The class project has been posted on Piazza.

Exams: The final will be during the university's official time: in our classroom CSIC 3120, 8-10AM on Monday, May 15th. The mid-term will be take-home: given out March 13th and due March 16th. The final will cover all concepts covered in class; you can bring your own notes and any notes handed out.

General Info: Class participation is strongly encouraged; students are urged to come to the office hours if they have questions, and can also email Aravind to setup alternative times if they cannot attend the regular office hours. A few lectures will be rescheduled (or covered by guest lectures) during Aravind's travel; very few of the office hours may also be canceled. (Again, students are always welcome to email Aravind to setup additional meeting-times as needed -- discussions with students are among the high points of his day!)  

Excused Absences

See the university's policy on medically-necessitated absence from class. The "Major Scheduled Grading Events" for this course are the mid-term and final exams; students claiming an excused absence from these events must apply in writing and furnish documentary support (such as from a health-care professional who treated the student) for any assertion that the absence qualifies as an excused absence. The support should explicitly indicate the dates or times the student was incapacitated due to illness. Self-documentation of illness is not itself sufficient support to excuse the absence. An instructor is not under obligation to offer a substitute assignment or to give a student a make-up assessment unless the failure to perform was due to an excused absence.

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.

Academic Integrity

The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit

To further exhibit your commitment to academic integrity, remember to sign the Honor Pledge on all examinations and assignments: "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination (assignment)."

Web Accessibility