CMSC 858C, Randomized Algorithms, Spring 2023
Office: IRB 4164, Phone: 301-405-2695
Instructor's office Hours: Tue, Thu 2-3 in IRB 4164
(additional slots by appointment; Aravind is happy to talk to students)
Course Time and Location: Tue, Thu
9:30-10:45AM, IRB 2207
TA: Nathaniel Grammel (ngrammel AT umd), office hours Mon, Wed 12-1 (IRB 5230)
tl;dr -- Students: please add
yourselves to the Piazza page for
the class! We will use Piazza extensively.
Since this is an advanced graduate class, part of the syllabus will be
tailored to the interests of the class, and to the questions that arise in
class. The approximate syllabus (part of which will be developed
in the homework) includes:
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 40%, Mid-term 25%, and
Enthusiastic participation is strongly encouraged.
- Major paradigms underlying randomized algorithms and the probabilistic
- A variety of approaches to, and settings for, large-deviation bounds;
- The Lovász Local Lemma;
- Randomized graph embeddings and decompositions;
- Applications in data science, data streams, computational epidemiology,
differential privacy, and AI fairness;
- Topics in information theory, correlation inequalities, negative
dependence, and applications of these as time permits.
Homework and Handouts:
Students will work in groups of three for all homework assignments.
Please ensure that you typeset your homework in LaTeX. You can find
many templates online, and here is one.
Exams: The final will be during the university's
official time: in our classroom IRB 2207, 8-10AM on Monday,
May 15th. The mid-term will be take-home: date to be announced.
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!)
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.
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)."
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. The 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 (the instructor's or the TA's) 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.
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