CS 577: Introduction to Algorithms

    Chem B371 TR 1:00-2:15PM
    Spring 2012

      Course info
      Staff Schedule

    Course Information

    Course Description

    This is a first course in the design and analysis of algorithms. The main focus is on techniques for constructing correct and efficient algorithms, and on tools to reason about them. Design paradigms include greed, divide-and-conquer, dynamic programming, reduction to network flow, 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, 2005.


    T. Cormen, C. Leiserson, R. Rivest, and C. Stein, Introduction to Algorithms, 2nd edition, 2001.
    K. Rosen, Discrete Mathematics and its Applications, 4th edition, 2003.


    CS 240 (Discrete Mathematics), and CS 367 (Data Structures).


    All exams are closed book and closed notes. However, you will be allowed to bring a "cheat-sheet".
    • Midterm (25%). R 03/15 7:15 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.
    • Final (35%). S 05/13 10:00 a.m. - noon

    Grading Policy

    • Point distribution. The points distribution for final grades is as follows: homework (40% - 5x8; the lowest pen-and-paper-homework score will be dropped), midterm (25%), final (35%).
    • Homeworks. There will be 9 homeworks (one or two programming and the rest pen and paper), roughly once a week. Homework release dates and due dates are posted here. We will drop the lowest pen-and-paper homework score from consideration when tallying each student's final score.
    • Collaboration policy. Homework may be done and submitted in pairs. You may not consult any material other than your lecture notes and the course text or reference books. In particular, the use of materials (such as homework solutions) from previous versions of the course or from the Internet is considered plagiarism and will warrant strict action in accordance with university policy.
    • Lateness policy. Each homework is due at the beginning of the lecture on the due date. No extensions will be given on the due date. However, we will drop each student's lowest homework score from consideration.
    • Extra credit questions and discussion on Piazza. Several of the pen-and-paper homeworks will contain extra credit questions. These questions have no points associated with them. However, we will keep a record of how many questions each student (or team) solves correctly. At the end of the semester, your performance on these questions may help your letter grade if your total score is close to the boundary between two grades. Your participation on the online discussion site Piazza may similarly help your letter grade.



    Shuchi Chawla
    Office: CS 4373
    Phone: x0027
    Email: shuchi (AT) cs (DOT) wisc (DOT) edu
    Lectures: TR 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. in Chem B371
    Office hours: T 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., F 11:00 a.m. - noon, and by appointment in CS 4373

    Teaching Assistant:    

    Brian Nixon
    Office: CS 1308
    Email: nixon (AT) cs (DOT) wisc (DOT) edu
    Office hours: M 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.