15-451 Algorithms: Course Policies
The course grade will be apportioned as follows:
Some of the homework assignments are quite substantial; always start early.
|midterm exams (2)
In the final grading,
there will be a slight curve, meaning that the cut-offs will be lowered slightly
in response to the performance of the class. Nonetheless, as a guiding principle
think of A:90, B:80, C:70, and D:60.
There will be 7 homework assignments: 4 written-only and 3 oral-and-written, in
alternating fashion. Written homework is due at the
beginning of class on the due date. You are expected to do the
written-only homeworks by yourself. Oral-and-written assignments will be done in
groups of 3: these assignments will consist of 3 problems and will be
presented to the TA or instructor as a group, with each member
presenting one of the problems (about 15 min per problem). All
members of a group will be given the same score, so it is to your
advantage to work together on solving the problems. More information
about how to sign up for oral homework presentations will be given
later. Each group is also required to hand in at the time of the
presentation a written solution to each of the problems
assigned. These solutions should be done in collaboration.
Each member of the group should be prepared to present anyone of the three problems.
We may flip a coin to pick the presenter.
Written homeworks will be handed back in recitation (so please put
your recitation letter/time on your hand-in).
Lateness and Absence
Since the course is rather fast paced, it is important for the students to
get access to correct homework solutions as soon as possible.
Hence, we will post solutions soon after the due date.
As a consequence, we have adopted the following lateness policy:
Makeups for the two exams and the final must be arranged at least one week
in advance, barring extreme situations.
Make sure to document any health problems you might have.
- later in the same day: 10% off
- 1-2 days late: 25% off
- more than 2 days late: 75% off
Before we begin with the technicalities, a general comment.
We appreciate that most students have no intention whatsoever to cheat in this
or any other course.
Unfortunately, experience shows that there is a small group of students who
will cheat when the opportunity or a perceived need arises, and it is that
small group that this section is addressed to.
No matter what, make sure to read this carefully, so that you fully know
what the rules of the game are.
You are expected to do the written assignments by yourself. You may
certainly talk with other students about course material, but what you
hand in should be your own work - the product of your own effort. If
you get stuck, contact one of the course staff: we may be able to help
guide you in the right direction. This also gives us feedback on
where unanticipated difficulties might be.
If you find a data base of solutions somewhere on the net, ignore it.
Do not talk to students who have previously taken the course, not even
to get hints on how to tackle a problem.
When you hand something in, you affirm that it has been
produced by you alone. A false affirmation is a serious breach of academic
integrity, and will have rather severe consequences.
Obviously, no cooperation whatsoever is permissible on exams.
To elaborate on the issue of data mining: most of the topics addressed in
this course are fairly standard, and there are countless books that contain a
wealth of information about them, including solutions to problems.
Moreover, with the increased use of the web for teaching, a fairly large
number of problems, complete with solutions, can be found somewhere on
It is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to look at books and
web-sites for more information on a topic, but if you stumble across
a problem solution, move on, quickly.
Any infringement will result at the very least in loss of credit for the
assignment or test in question.
In severe cases, it may lead to failure in the course and referral to the Dean
of Student Affairs, as provided for in the university's policy
on academic disciplinary actions. Especially severe violations of
academic integrity may be forwarded to a hearing for further sanction.
Students who make their work available to others to copy will also be liable
for these penalties; hence you should be careful to keep your homework files
Publicly readable solutions, or pieces thereof, constitute a major offense.
For more information, please see the university's policy
on cheating and plagiarism.
Feel free to contact any member of the course staff to clarify
Last modified: Thu Jan 29 10:14:19 EST 2004