The Algorithms Tango

Words: Bridget Spitznagel

Music: The Masochism Tango, Tom Lehrer

My head aches from last night's libation
But much more from the sight of notation
You wield that big O like no one I know
As we dance to the algorithms tango

Let the math obfuscate, not enlighten;
Use new symbols in order to frighten.
Dash through a proof mere mortals would goof
As we dance to the algorithms tango

Assignment One
Is really lots of fun
Too bad I'm still not done
In time to hand it in.
But proving P
Is equal to NP
Could earn me a degree --
Hey, why your evil grin?

Your amortizations of splay trees
Are why I long to be your advisee
Some say I'm insane, but I love the arcane,
And the legerdemain of your tango.

On the first day of class, you four-colored a map, and
You packed spheres in my lap, and
Then I couldn't take notes.
How I envy the chalk that you dug from your pocket
Saying "This isn't rocket
Science" (such witty quotes!)

Union-find and the Ackermann inverse,
"Exercise left for reader", please, be terse,
When I don't understand, it all seems so grand
As we dance to the algorithms tango.

Disclaimer: No resemblance to persons living, dead, or otherwise is intended; "algorithms" just plain scanned right.

Background: One of the courses that CMU CS graduate students are required to take is the algorithms core course. It has useful content, but is far from easy; in fact, study groups are recommended.

Legal frufru: Lyrics © 1996, Bridget Spitznagel. Permission granted for private noncommercial use and reproduction of these lyrics, provided that this copyright notice remains intact. Other uses are negotiable.

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Bridget Spitznagel
Last modified: Tue Nov 11 19:17:28 EST 1997