15-853: Algorithms in the "Real World"
Carnegie Mellon University, Computer Science Department
Fall 2007

Fluid Flow Image

Instructors: Guy Blelloch
Time: Tuesday and Thursday 10:30 - 11:50 Note: first class is September 11
Place: 4623 Wean Hall
Credit: 12 Units
Prerequisites: An advanced undergrad course in algorithms (15-451 or equivalent will suffice).
Office Hours: Monday 1:30-2:30pm

  • Course overview and topic list.
  • Readings, Notes and Slides.
  • Course Requirements and Grading Criteria.
  • Approximate schedule.
  • Assignments.
  • Information on algorithms available on the web
  • Companies that sell products that use various algorithms

  • Course Overview:

    This course covers how algorithms and theory are used in "real-world" applications. The course will cover both the theory behind the algorithms and case studies of how the theory is applied. It is organized by topics and the topics change from year to year.

    This year we will cover the following topics. The exact subtopics might change

  • Compression
    Information Theory
    Huffman/Arithmetic/Gamma Codes
    Context Coding/PPM
    Lempel Ziv/Gzip/Burrows Wheeler
    Graph Compression

  • String Searching/Matching
    Suffix Arrays and Suffix Trees

  • Error Correcting Codes
    Hamming Codes, Linear Codes
    Reed Solomon Codes, Cyclic Codes (uses in CDs, DVDs, DSL, ...)
    Expander graphs and Tornado codes

  • Cryptography
    One-way functions, basic protocols
    Number theory review: groups, fields, Galois fields
    Private key cryptosystems (Block Ciphers, Rijdael)
    Public key cryptosystems (SSL, RSA, ElGamal, Diffie-Hellman key exchange)
    Kerberos and Digital Cash

  • Linear and Integer programming
    Flow problems as Linear programs
    Simplex, Elipsoid and Interior point methods
    Reductions to integer programs
    Basic techniques for solving integer programs
    Airline crew scheduling

  • Separators

  • Dimensionality Reduction

  • Computational Biology
    Approximate String Matching
    Various gap and cost models
    Sequencing the Human Genome

  • Requirements and Grading Criteria

  • Readings (handed out per topic)
  • Homework Assignments (1 or 2 per topic) (55%)
  • Take-home Midterm (0%) NO MIDTERM
  • Take-home final exam (25%)
  • Grading Assignments (1 over the semester) (10%)
  • Class participation (10%)

  • Assignments

  • Assign 1: Compression I, Due September 25
  • Assign 2: Compression II, Due October 18
  • Assign 3: Cryptography, Due Nov 1 (solutions)
  • Assign 4: Error Correcting Codes, Due Nov 15
  • Assign 5: Linear/Integer Programming and Comp. Bio., Due Dec 6

  • Relevant Books

    See the lists within each of the topic pages

    Guy Blelloch, guyb@cs.cmu.edu.