Computer Sciences Dept.

CS 577 - Introduction to Algorithms

Fall 2007
Picture of Al-Khwarizmi

Course Description

This course provides an undergraduate-level introduction to the design and analysis of algorithms. The main focus lies on techniques for constructing correct efficient algorithms and on tools to reason about them. Design paradigms include greed, divide-and-conquer, dynamic programming, reductions, and the use of randomness. A second focus point is computational intractability. NP-complete problems are covered, as well as ways to deal with them.

The course forms a foundation for all areas of computer science. The particular computational problems discussed have applications in artificial intelligence, computational biology, compiler construction, hardware and network protocols, and optimization.


Jon Kleinberg and Eva Tardos, Algorithm Design, Addison-Wesley, 2006.


CS 240 (Discrete Mathematics), and CS 367 (Data Structures) are essential prerequisites. The course catalogue also lists Math 222 (second semester of Calculus) but that prerequisite is not as essential as the other two.

A self-calibration homework will be handed out in the first lecture.

Course Work

  • Homework (50%). There will be an assignment every other week. Expect the problems to be challenging so start early. You are allowed to discuss the problems in group but you should write out the solutions on your own and give credit to your collaborators. No sources other than the instructor, the TA, and your fellow students in the course are allowed. Model solutions will be handed out during the lecture in which the homework is due, so no late assignments can be accepted.

  • Exams: Midterm (20%) on M 10/29, 7:15-10:15pm in Humanities 1111 and Final (30%) on F 12/21, 7:25-9:25pm in CS&S 1325. Both exams are closed book and closed notes.

  • If you are taking this course for honors credit, you are expected to do the extra credit problems that are assigned with each homework, as well as to participate in the preparations for the regional competition of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest.


The following book is on reserve in Wendt library:

  • T. Cormen, C. Leiserson, R. Rivest, and C. Stein, Introduction to Algorithms, 2nd edition, 2001.
In case you need to refresh discrete math, the text book used for Math 240 is also on reserve:
  • K. Rosen, Discrete Mathematics and its Applications, 4th edition, 2003.

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