15-451: Algorithms, Spring 2011

- Help you understand and use the material of this course in your further life.
- Ensure that people and especially further employers believe you have mastered the skills presented in the class.

Here is the approximate grading standard (subject to change). Historically the average grade in this class is a B. Given the quality of the classes work will may increase or decrease this average.

Homework 25%Quizzes 15%Midterm 25%Final exam 35%

- All homeworks are due
**at the beginning**of lecture or recitation. See due dates. - We will
**not accept**late submission. However, each individual student has a single 48 hours pass. This pass can be used to extend the deadline for one homework by 48 hours. - You are encouraged to work in groups of 2 or (preferably) 3. The group should be as diverse as possible.
- On all assignments each person should hand-in their own writeup. That is, collaboration should be limited to talking about the problems, so that your writeup is written entirely by you and not copied from your partner. In addition, list all members of your group.
- You are required to type your solutions (preferably using LaTeX).
- A 30% bonus will be assessed to the
**entire**homework for each solution used in the posted solutions. Submission in LaTeX is required for consideration. - You can earn more than 100% on most problem sets. A score higher than 100% is bonus.
- If you use any reference or webpage, you must cite it.

- Read the material taught in class, and make sure you understand all the definitions, algorithms, theorems and proofs.
- Read the homework. Carefully.
- Spend at least one hour thinking about each problem by yourselves. This is the vital part of
understanding the course's material. You will get stuck, that's ok. When you do, here are
some suggestions to help you get past it.
- Come up with a dummy example, over a small number of item, and try to solve it. This is particularly helpful when you're trying to follow an algorithm, or when devising a counter example.
- Which algorithms / techniques / heuristics taught in class are applicable to the problem at hand? When do they fail and for what reason?
- Reduce the problem to a problem taught in class. Can the problem be represented as a graph? a network? maybe to a less general instance of the problem itself (a graph with negative weight to a graph with unique, non-negative weights)?
- The notion of sub-problem (divide-and-conquer, dynamic programming, induction) is a recurring theme in this class. Try to identify and solve the sub-problems of the problem at hand.

- Only after you gave the problem a serious amount of thinking, try to collaborate, find outside sources or come to the TAs for guidance.
- Write down the solution, by yourselves. Re-read what you've wrote. Make sure the solution is exact, and answers specifically what you've been asked about. It should be clear, but it need not necessarily be long.

Finally, feel free to contact any member of the course staff to clarify these policies.