[Note: this webpage last modified Wednesday, 08-Jan-2014 21:50:04 EST]

Table of Contents

General Information
Recorded Lectures
Purpose and Focus of Course
Grading, Assignments, and Expectations
Academic Integrity
Special Needs

General Information

Lecture: Tuesday and Thursday from 2-3:15pm in room A-002, Root Hall.

Final exam: May 1, 3-5pm.

Office hours: I am generally in my office and available most MWF's from about 8:30am-4pm. My official office hours are Wednesdays 9:30-11:30am. My office is A-129 Root Hall.

Instructor: Jeff Kinne

Website: (or browse for Jeff Kinne on, or search for Jeff Kinne on google, bing, yahoo, etc. and find a link to the course website from my personal webpage).

Required text: Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein. We will also supplement with readings from online sources, including Algorithms by Sanjoy Dasgupta, Christos Papadimitriou, and Umesh Vazirani.

Prerequisite: If you have not taken CS 458/558 at ISU, you need the instructor's permission to register for the course. If you have not taken this course at ISU, you probably are not ready for CS 658. If you have any questions about this, send an email or set up a time to see me.

Mathematical Review: This course assumes "mathematical maturity" - that you are familiar with proofs, basic mathematical reasoning, run-time analysis of algorithms, etc. You can review much of this material by looking at the following MIT opencourseware page: 6.042J / 18.062J Mathematics for Computer Science, Fall 2005. That course has exercises that you can attempt to solve and then check the solutions. For most who take CS 458/558, it would be highly beneficial to spend time before the course starts and/or early in the semester reviewing that type of material, in particular focusing on proofs (including induction), logic, asymptotic running time, and basic counting/probability.

Course Announcements

Announcements regarding the course will be made both during class and via email to your email address. You should regularly check this email account or have it forwarded to an account that you check regularly. You can set the account to forward by logging into your email from Internet Explorer (the "light" version of the webmail client that opens up from Firefox or Chrome does not give the option to forward email).

Purpose and Focus of Course

This course is an advanced course in algorithms design and analysis. This course picks up where 458/558 left off. We will look at many new topics and also revisit some you have seen to look at them in more detail. We will likely begin by reviewing sorting and graph algorithms the first week or two. We will proceed to study approximation algorithms, NP-completeness, heuristic algorithms, randomized algorithms, linear programming, pseudorandom generators, cryptography, ...

For each algorithm we study, we will focus on verifying that the algorithm even is correct, and also analyze the running time and memory space needed to complete the algorithm. We will choose a number of the algorithms to implement in code.

Grading, Assignments, and Expectations

The students of this course have the following responsibilities: read assigned readings before lecture, attend lecture, complete homework assignments, take exams, and complete a project. The final grade consists of:

The class attendance grade serves the purpose of giving you credit for coming to class. You benefit from coming to class by seeing me present the new material, getting to ask questions, interacting with your classmates, keeping up on what is going on in the course, etc.

The exams serve as benchmarks of your ability to relatively quickly solve problems related to the material. This helps me assign a grade, and also gives you motivation to pay attention and keep up with the assignments.

The weekly programming homework assignments are designed to solidify your knowledge by having you write programs.

The final project will be discussed further after the first few weeks of the semester. Students will choose a larger programming project that will be completed by the end of the semester and presented to the class.

Expectations. My expectation is that an average student will spend about 6-9 hours OUTSIDE of class each week (that is in addition to class time) WORKING PRODUCTIVELY/EFFICIENTLY (not just starring at the computer) to complete their coursework for this class. Some students may spend less time than this, and some students will spend more.

Classroom conduct. You may not use cell phones, iPods/music players, etc. during class. You should be civil and respectful to both the instructor and your classmates, and you should arrive to class a few minutes before the scheduled lecture so you are ready for lecture to begin on time. You may use your computer during class if you are using it to follow along with the programming examples that are being discussed. You may not check email, facebook, work on other courses, etc. during class.

Important Note. If you wait until the last minute to begin your homework assignments, I will not be available to answer questions if you have problems. Programming assignments are notorious in the sense that oftentimes most of the time completing the assignment occurs after you thought you had the problem solved. This is called debugging (and testing), and is typically most of the effort in completing a program. So you MUST start your homework early. I suggest attempting the assignment the day it is given, or the day after, so that if you have a problem you can ask early. If you continue to have problems in trying to complete the assignment, you will have time to ask again. Working on programming assignments is much less stressful if you start early!

Grade cutoffs

I make no promise ahead of time what the exact cutoff will be in terms of the number of points to achieve an A+, A, A-, etc. These will depend on how the course goes. I will use the guidelines below in assigning letter grades. After the first few weeks, I will include a "letter grade if the semester ended today" in your grades and for taking attendance. You can keep track of how you are doing in the course with the grades on the blackboard site for this course.

The following is roughly what I would expect by the end of the semester to earn a particular grade.

Grading Programs

For the later programming assignments, I will assign a grade based on correctness and style. The exact breakdown may vary slightly from one assignment to another. In general, 60-70% of the points for an assignment will be given based on whether it is correct. The remaining 30-40% will be given based on good programming style: (i) choosing variable and function names that are descriptive/appropriate, (ii) writing code that is easy to understand and efficient, (iii) including documentation at the top of each file about what is in that file and how to use it, (iv) including documentation with each function describing what the function does (including what should be input to the function and what the function outputs), (v) documentation throughout each function describing the flow of the program. For portions of the code that are given to you, you do not need to add documentation to those parts of the code; if I give you partially completed code, you are responsible only for documenting the code that you add.


The course has a blackboard site. Click here to go to blackboard. You should see CS 151 listed under your courses for the current term. The blackboard site is only used for giving you your grades. All course content, schedule, etc. is kept on the instructor's webpage (which you are currently viewing).

Academic Integrity

Please follow these guidelines to avoid problems with academic misconduct in this course:

If cheating is observed, you will at the least receive a 0 for the assignment (and may receive an F for the course), and I will file a Notification of Academic Integrity Violation Report with Student Judicial Programs, as required by the university's policy on Academic Integrity. A student who is caught cheating twice (whether in a single course or different courses) is likely to be brought before the All-University Court hearing panel, which can impose sanctions up to and including suspension/expulsion. See the Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity Resources for more information.

Please ask the instructor if you have doubts about what is considered cheating in this course.

Special Needs

If you have special needs for the classroom environment, homeworks, or quizzes, please inform the instructor during the first week of classes. If you have any such needs, you should go to the Student Academic Services Center to coordinate this. See Student Academic Services Center - Disabled Student Services for more information.