Course Policies
Caveat emptor: this document is a draft
and subject to change until the first week of
classes.
Grading
There will be two inclass midterms, and a final during the
finals period. There will also be 7 homework assignments and
a collection of short online quizzes. The 7 homework
assignments contain some written assignments that you are to
do on your own and some oral presentation assignments that you
will do in groups of three.
4 Written
Homeworks  20% (5% each) 
3 Oral
Homeworks  15% (5% each) 
Online
Quizzes+Class Participation+Bonus  12% (see below) 
Midterm exams (in
class)  30% (15% each) 
Final exam  23% 
Recitations
 Everyone is expected to go to their recitation section.
Recitations are a chance to engage in more discussion than
is usually possible in a large lecture, with a focus on
the process of solving algorithmic problems. Recitations
will occasionally contain new material as well, on which
you may be tested.
Exams
 There will be two midterms and one final exam.
 Midterms will be offered in class and will
take the full class period. See the schedule for the exam
dates.
Online Quizzes
 There will an online quiz most weeks, for a total of 12
quizzes. Most quizzes will be due Thursday 11:59pm, so that
you can discuss them on Friday in recitations.
 You will be tested on the material from the previous 23
lectures. You may refer to the course materials to solve
the quizzes.
 Quizzes are designed to make sure you are keeping
up with the material presented in lectures. If you are, you will find most of the problems easy.
Online Quizzes+Class Participation+Bonus
 12% of your grade is allocated to "Online Quizzes +
Class Participation+Bonus". This works as follows.
 Quiz:
Each quiz is worth 1 point. There are 12 quizzes.
 Class Participation:
The course staff will award 3 points for class
participation, based on your participation in piazza,
lectures, and recis. We believe that attending lectures
and recis, and participating in discussions on piazza are important parts of the course, since they
allow you to learn. So we are giving you an incentive to
do so.
 Piazza: For piazza, we would be very happy if
you answer fellow student questions without giving away
solutions or hints to the homework problems.
 Lecture Attendance: For lectures, in each
lecture we may randomly decide to take a piazza poll where
we will ask a question on piazza. You can use your cell
phone to answer the question. You will not be graded on
your answer to the question, but your response will be
used to indicate that you are present at the lecture, and
help us see if there are any confusing aspects of the
leture. You can earn up to 1.5 points for lecture
attendance. So if we have n lectures with polls in them,
and you came to m of those lectures, your point total
would be (m/n)*1.5.
 Recitations: For attending and participating
in recis, you can earn up to 1.5 points. These will be
based on feedback from your TAs, so you may want to
participate in recis, and also stick to the same
recitation so that your TA knows who you are.
 Bonus
Finally, we will occasionally give out bonus problems
worth 12 points.
 We total the points up from online quizzes,
class participation, and bonus, and cap at 12.
 E.g., one way to get 100% on this set of points is to
get an average of 75% on the 12 quizzes, and get three
points for class participation.
Homeworks
There will be written homeworks and oral presentations,
described below.
Written HWs
 Each written HW will have four (4) problems. One of
these will a programming problem. (See
the section on programming problems
below for more details on these.) The other three problems
will be written problems.
 You should work on all problems in a written
homework by yourself. There should be no
collaboration on these HWs. If you have
questions, come to office hours. Or, post on Piazza
for clarification questions.
 The written problems on these homeworks should be
submitted electronically via
gradescope. Homeworks will
be due at 11:59PM on their due
date.
 You must typeset your homework. This
makes your HWs legible, and the writing forces
you to (re)think through the answers.
Of course, merely typesetting your HW is no guarantee of
legibility. Please reread over your submissions! If we cannot understand what you've
submitted, you may lose points.
 LaTeX (see Miktex
for Windows machines) is a good typesetting system for
documents with math.
Here's a LaTeX
guide by Adam Blank, and a
Latex template for Hwks. You can
customize it as you like.
 You will lose points for late submissions. Up to 24
hours late: 10 points off. 2448 hours late: 20 points
off. If you want to submit more than 48 hours late, you will
lose 75 points. Moreover, you cannot submit electronically
after 48 hours, and must contact your TA to submit. At this
point solutions will be posted and you may look at them,
though anything handed in should be put into your own
words
 Each student also gets 2 "grace/mercy days", aka "10% off off coupons". These will be automatically applied to counteract up to 20% total in lateness penalties. Not good on hwks turned in more than 48 hours late.
Nontransferrable. Void where prohibited.
 If you use any reference or webpage or material from
any other class (including past iterations of 451), you
must cite it, else it will be considered cheating. We reserve
the right to deduct points for using such material beyond reason.
 We will use a randomized grading
strategy. The programming problems will always be
graded. From the three others, we will choose two
at random. Since you should read the sample solutions to
all the problems, you can evaluate your solution
for the remaining problem on your own. The goal is to
have fast gradingturnaround times while giving you as
much feedback as possible.
Oral HWs
 Each oral homework (Homeworks 2,4, and 7) has
four (4) problems. One of these will be a programming
problem. The other three will be regular problems for oral
presentations.
 These homeworks are your chance for collaboration. Please form groups of three. The members of
your group will work together to solve all four problems.
 For the lone programming problem, you must then write
the solution program by yourself! The submission process
is the same as for the other homeworks.
 For the three oral presentation problems, you will
present your solutions, as a group, to one of the course
staff. Presentations will be given in 45minute time slots (there
will be an electronic signup sheet reachable from the
course home page). At the presentation, each member of the
group will spend 15 minutes presenting one of the
problems. The instructor/TA will decide who presents which
problem, but when one member is presenting, other members
are allowed to chime in too. In the end, the three
presentations together will determine the score for the
group. However, we reserve the right to give different
members different scores when we believe it is warranted.
 If you are nervous about your presentation, you may in
addition hand in a written sketch of your solution as
well. (This is optional.) We will then take this writeup
into consideration in determining your grade on the
assignment.
Programming Problems

The solutions to programming problems will be submitted
via Autolab. Your program will read its input from
standard input and output to standard output. It will be
judged on correctness and running time. The languages
accepted are Java, C, C++, Ocaml, SML. (Sorry, no Python
this semester.) More details will appear on piazza.
 Our submission system will run plagiarismdetection
software on the submissions. Please do not copy!
Solving the Homework
Ideally, this is how you should approach
the homework.
 Read the material taught in class, and make sure you understand all
the definitions, algorithms, theorems and proofs.
 Read the homework problem. Carefully.
 If you get stuck, here are some suggestions to get past it:
 Come up with a small example, and see how you would solve that. 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 tree? a graph? a flow network? maybe to a less general
instance of the problem itself (a graph with negative weight to a graph
with unique, nonnegative weights)?
 The notion of subproblem (divideandconquer, dynamic programming,
induction) is a recurring theme in this class. Try to identify and solve
the subproblems of the problem at hand.
 If you are still stuck, come to office hours. Sometimes just a
brief meeting can get you pointed in the right direction (or help to
back you up from a wrong path, to use a DFS analogy).
 When you write down your solution, reread what you've written. Is
the solution understandable? Does it answer specifically what you've
been asked about? Your answers should be clear, and often they will be
short.
Bboards:
 We will use
Piazza for
online discussions and course announcements.
 Make sure you don't post questions to piazza that give away
solutions (or even give hints).
 Piazza is best used for announcements, clarifications, and
short queries. If you want to discuss problem solving, or need
advice on how to get unstuck, please come to office hours! We are
here to help you.
Textbooks:
 Several of the topics we teach, particularly the more advanced
ones, are not covered in the standard Algorithms textbooks. Hence we
will provide lecture notes covering all the material in this course.
 However, we would like you to have a book to give you more
detailed coverage. (Or to give you an alternative perspective if you
find our own confusing!) We recommend you get one of the following:
 Introduction to Algorithms, by Cormen, Leiserson,
Rivest, and Stein (hereafter referred to as "CLRS"). It's
big, it's fairly expensive, but it is the gold standard of
algorithms books with a lot of material. Based on the
Algorithms course at MIT.
 Algorithms, by Dasgupta, Papadimitriou, and Vazirani
(herafter referred to as "DPV"). Smaller, cheaper, more
informal. A relatively new book based on Algorithms courses
at UC Berkeley and UCSD. A preliminary (incomplete) version
is available here.
 Specific readings in CLRS and DPV will be listed on the course
schedule. It is recommended that you skim the reading before
lecture, with a more thorough read afterwards.
 Other helpful material can be found in: Algorithm
Design by J. Kleinberg and E. Tardos, Data Structures
and Network Algorithms by R. E. Tarjan, Randomized
Algorithms by Motwani and Raghavan, Programming
Pearls by J. Bentley, Introduction to Algorithms: a
Creative Approach by U. Manber, and the classic
AhoHopcroftUllman book. See also
some excellent
lecture notes by Jeff Erickson at UIUC.
Your Health & Wellbeing

We want you to learn cool new things in the course, things that will
be useful for your life and career. And we want you to have fun
learning this material! Part of making sure you have the right experience involves
taking care of yourself. Do your best to maintain a healthy
lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, avoiding drugs
and
alcohol, getting
enough sleep
and taking some time to
relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.
If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult
life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly
encourage you to seek support. Counseling and Psychological Services
(CaPS) is here to help: call 4122682922 and visit
http://www.cmu.edu/counseling/. Consider reaching out to a friend,
faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the
support that can help.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:
 If you have a disability and are registered with the Office of
Disability Resources, we encourage you to use their online system to
notify us of your accommodations and also come and see us to discuss your needs as early in the semester as possible. We will work with you to ensure that accommodations are provided as appropriate. If you suspect that you may have a disability and would benefit from accommodations but are not yet registered with the Office of Disability Resources, we encourage you to contact them at access@andrew.cmu.edu.
Other Policies
Lateness and Absence
 Makeups for the 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. If you need special accommodations,
please contact Prof. Gupta or Prof. Woodruff as early as possible.
Academic Integrity
 We will assume that you understand the issues and do not need a
detailed explanation here: in a nutshell, collaboration is healthy,
but plagiarism and cheating are serious academic offenses with serious
consequences. (And yes, doing web searches for homework solutions is
cheating, as is looking at others' solutions for HWs where we do not
allow collaboration.) If you cheat in the class we will penalize you and
report you to the authorities. Issues will be handled in accordance with
the University
Policy on Academic Integrity. Please also see the the Carnegie Mellon Code on Academic Integrity.
Finally, feel free to contact any member of the course staff to clarify
these policies.