COMP 160 - Spring 2014 - Syllabus

Description and Objective:
Introduction to the study of algorithms. Strategies such as divide-and-conquer, greedy methods, and dynamic programming. Graph algorithms, sorting, searching, integer arithmetic, hashing, and NP-complete problems.

Prerequisites: COMP 15 and COMP/MATH 61 (formerly numbered 22)

The textbook for the course is Introduction to Algorithms (3rd edition). Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein, MIT Press (2009) ISBN: 978-0-262-03384-8

Anselm Blumer

ablumer (at) cs dottufts dot edu
Halligan Hall, Room 211
Office Hours: Tuesdays 6 - 7 PM in Braker 222
or by appointment.

Home page

Teaching assistants (in Halligan 121 unless otherwise noted)

Summary of hours:
Sunday 1 - 3 (Tara), 6 - 9 (Adam)
Monday 10 - noon (Xian), 2 - 4 (Xian), 8 - 10 (Caleb)
Tuesday noon - 2 (Tara), 8 - 10 (Caleb)
Wednesday 11- 1 (Brian), 4:15 - 6:15 (Cyrus), 6 - 9 (Adam), 7 - 9 (Tara)
Notes: Cyrus will cover Caleb's evening hours on Monday, May 5 and Tara's afternoon hours on Tuesday, May 6. Other than that, regular hours will continue through the morning of Wednesday, May 7.

Xian Feng

xfeng atcs dottufts dot edu
Office Hours: Mondays 10 AM - noon, 2 - 4 PM
or by appointment.

Tara Kola

Tara.Kola atttufts dotedu
Office Hours: Tuesdays noon - 2, Wednesdays 7 - 9 PM, and Sundays 1 - 3 PM

Caleb Malchik

Caleb.Malchik atttufts dotedu
Office Hours: Mondays 8 - 10 PM and Tuesdays 8 - 10 PM

Brian Pilchik

Brian.Pilchik atttufts dotedu
Office Hours: Wednesdays 11 AM - 1 PM

Adam Schettenhelm

Adam.Schettenhelm atttufts dotedu
Office Hours: Wednesdays 6 - 9 PM, Sundays 6 - 9 PM

Cyrus Cousins

Cyrus.Cousins atttufts dotedu
Office Hours: Wednesdays 4:15 - 6:15

Students are encouraged to communicate frequently with the instructor and TAs regarding any issues with the course. Students are encouraged to use Piazza, email, and office hours frequently. Any announcements regarding the course will be made via Piazza and/or the course webpage or in class so be sure to check frequently and be sure to get material for any class you miss.

We have a Piazza Forum for class discussion. For most questions about assignments, please use the Piazza forum. That way, you will benefit from the expertise of other students as well as TAs and the professor. Other students will see your question and the answer.

There is one important exception: because the course collaboration policy requires that you never publicly post any writing that you create as solutions to our assignments, you have two options for asking detailed questions about your own code or designs:

Homework will be assigned regularly in the course. While reading assignments will not be directly assigned it is important that students use the textbook to supplement their understanding of the material presented in the lecture. The majority of the assignments will be written assignments due on Thursdays at the beginning of class on the due date specified. This work can be handwritten with the assumption that these assignments are legible. (A student may be asked to type their assignments to improve legibility.)

Late Homework:
Unless otherwise stated on the assignment, homework will be due at the start of class on Thursdays. 10% will be deducted from homework handed in during class or at the end. 20% will be deducted from homework handed in at the CS office on Friday. Ask a staff person to sign and date the homework and put it in my mailbox. Similarly, 40% will be deducted from homework handed in on Monday, 60% on Tuesday, and 80% on Wednesday. No homework will be accepted after one week.

Weekly sections:
Since the size of the class is larger than desirable, there will be smaller sections available every week. Every student is expected to sign up for a section. Times and locations will be determined during the first week of class.

Here is a tentative schedule of sections:

There will be four 15-minute quizzes, on dates to be determined. Quizzes will be closed book and no electronic devices will be allowed. Students may bring one 8.5x11 sheets of notes to quizzes.

There will be in-class exams on March 13 and April 24, and an optional final on Wednesday, May 7 at 3:30. The final is cumulative. Exams will be closed book and no electronic devices will be allowed. Students may bring two 8.5x11 sheets of notes to exams and six sheets to the final.

Grade Calculation:
20% Quizzes - the lowest quiz score will be dropped
20% for each exam = 40% total for in-class exams
40% Homework

After the second exam is graded, a tentative course grade will be calculated. For those taking the final, the lowest exam or the quizzes will be dropped and the final will count as two exams, so the new grade will be based on:
20% Quizzes/Exams
40% Homework
40% Final
The maximum of the old and new grade will be used.

Your thoughts and concerns on this course are important. You are encouraged to give feedback to the instructor and teaching fellow throughout the term. As always students will be asked to fill out a course evaluation at the end of the term.

Academic Misconduct:
Students should read the Tufts brochure on academic integrity located at:

A few highlights are presented to emphasize importance:

Absolute adherence to the code of conduct is demanded of the instructor, teaching fellow, and students. This means that no matter the circumstance any misconduct will be reported to Tufts University.

While computers enable easy copying and collaboration both with other students and materials from the Internet, it is possible to use these same computers to detect plagiarism and collaboration.

If any student does not understand these terms or any outlined in The Academic Code of Conduct it is his/her responsibility to talk to the instructor or teaching fellow.