15-853: Algorithms in the "Real World"
Carnegie Mellon University, Computer Science Department
Fall 2008

Fluid Flow Image

Instructors: Guy Blelloch and Daniel Golovin
Time: Tuesday and Thursday 10:30 - 11:50 Note: first class is September 9
Place: 4623 Wean Hall
Credit: 12 Units
Prerequisites: An advanced undergrad course in algorithms (15-451 or equivalent will suffice).
Office Hours: Guy, Tuesday 1:30-2:30pm : Daniel, Thursday 2:00-3:00pm

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

  • Announcements:

  • There is a minor bug in the statement of the Chernoff bound in the notes provided for nearest neighbors here. Until we get the source files and correct it, you can find an authoritative statement of (one of) the Chernoff bounds in the following list of large deviation inequalities.
  • Assignment 5 clarifications:
  • Assignment 5 is now posted
  • Final Exam info: The final will be a 48 hour take-home exam. You will have some choice as to when you take it. Specifically, you will pick up the exam between Dec. 8th and Dec 12th from Guy's assistant Denny Marous (Wean 7116), sign a form pledging confidentiality, and submit your answers 48 hours later.

  • 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

  • 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

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

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

  • String Searching/Matching
    Suffix Arrays and Suffix Trees

  • 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

  • Satisfiability
    Proof Systems, Resolution
    DPLL type algorithms, with advanced features (clause learning, backtracking heuristics, ...)
    Local-search based methods
    Reduction strategies to encode your problems as SAT instances

  • Nearest Neighbors

  • Requirements and Grading Criteria

  • Readings (handed out per topic)
  • Homework Assignments (1 or 2 per topic) (50%)
  • Take-home Midterm (10%)
  • Take-home final exam (20%)
  • Grading Assignments (1 over the semester) (10%)
  • Class participation (10%)

  • Assignments

  • Assignment 1: Cyptography (due September 25)
  • Assignment 2: Error Correcting Codes (due October 9) (solutions)
  • Assignment 3: Computaional Biology and String Matching (due October 23)
  • Assignment 4: Linear and Integer Programming (due Nov 13) (solutions)
  • Assignment 5: Nearest Neighbors and SAT (due Dec 4)

  • Relevant Books

    See the lists within each of the topic pages

    Guy Blelloch, guyb@cs.cmu.edu.