Syllabus: CSE 4833 / 6833 Introduction to Algorithms

Dr. J. Edward Swan II <>
Fall 2006
Course Time and Location
Mon and Wed, 2:00 pm–3:15 pm, 100 Butler Hall
Office Hours and Location
Mon and Wed, 4:45 pm–6:00 pm, 100 Butler Hall
Catalog Description
Three hours lecture. Study of complexity of algorithms and algorithm design. Tools for analyzing efficiency; design of algorithms, including recurrence, divide-and-conquer, dynamic programming and greedy algorithms.
Course Prerequisites
In order to take this course, a student must have completed CSE 2314 (Computer Science II) or CS 2383 (Data Structures and Analysis of Algorithms), CS 2813 (Discrete Structures), and MA 2733 (Calculus III), all with a grade of C or better.
Course Objectives
(1) To provide students with an opportunity to learn more about and to practice mathematical thinking in the domain of algorithms.
(2) To examine different classes of algorithms and their properties.
(3) To abstract the common properties of classes of algorithms.
Required Text
Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein, The MIT Press, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 2001. 

Grading Scale

90% – 100% A
80% – 89% B
70% – 79% C
60% – 69% D
0% – 59% F

Graded Activities

Homework Assignments: 35%
Midterm I: 20%
Midterm II: 20%
Final: 25%

Homework Assignments: We will have 5 to 7 homework assignments during the semester.  Most of the questions will be chosen from the exercises given at the end of each chapter in our textbook.  Students taking CSE 6833 will generally have several extra questions to answer; students taking CSE 4833 will not be required to answer these extra questions.  As described under the section on Collaboration below, I allow a greater degree of collaboration on homework assignments than is allowed under the strictest possible interpretation of the CSE Department's Academic Honesty Policy

Homework assignments will always be due on class days, and will be due at the beginning of the class period.  On days when homework is due, we will spend most of, and possibly the entire class meeting going over the homework questions.  After this class meeting, you will have up to 24 hours to resubmit any homework question(s) that you desire; these resubmitted questions will add points to your homework grade.  Homework questions turned in after the beginning of the class period will be considered resubmissions. 

You should take the homework assignments seriously --- they are the best way to learn the material in this course.  If you cannot complete a homework assignment in time, turn it in late, both to collect some points and to further study and learn the material!

Additional details on homework assignments and how the resubmissions are graded.

Exams: We will have two examinations during the semester; each will be worth 100 points.

Final Exam: Our final exam will be given during the scheduled final exam time, and will be worth 100 points.

Grading and Appeals

I will be working with a grader to grade your homework assignments, exams, quizzes, and / or final exam.  If you disagree with a grade, you need to provide me with a written appeal.  Although you can discuss a grade with me, I won't make a decision regarding the grade based on a discussion, but only on a written appeal.   

The WebCT Message Boards and Email

In this class, the WebCT message boards are the main communication interface between the instructor, the grader, and your fellow students. Do not send email to the instructor with questions about assignments; post these to the discussion boards instead. Often, other students may be able to answer your question before the instructor.  My goal is for the course to build upon a collaborative environment.

Since there may be frequent list activity, check the boards at least once a day. Students are responsible for knowing any material posted by the instructor.

The boards are a forum for discussion related to this class. Therefore, do not post rude or irrelevant messages. In addition, while general approaches can be discussed, exact or partial solutions (including code detailed snippets) are not allowed. Everyone is to do their own work.

Academic Honesty / Misconduct and Collaboration

Students are expected to maintain the standards of academic honesty that are described in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering's Academic Honesty Policy.  These standards apply in their entirety to the midterm exams and the final exam

However, in the real world people work in groups.  I encourage students to collaborate on homework assignments in terms of discussing general approaches.  Students may also assist each other in algorithm debugging. Students may engage in these activities through the message boards.  However, the solution for each assignment must be written individually by each student. This means do not turn in answers downloaded off the Internet or accessed by other means. Do not turn in someone else's work as if it were your own.  This is an important policy.  Not only will violators fail to learn the course material, but violators of this policy will receive an "F" in this course, and will otherwise be handled according the Academic Honesty Policy

Missed Exams

Occasionally students miss examinations. Sometimes the student knows about these absences in advance, and sometimes they happen unexpectedly.  If you know in advance that you will be absent and you wish to have the absence considered excused, then you must meet with me before the date of the exam, and I will let you know whether or not the absence will be excused.  If your excused absence will occur during an exam, then I will make arrangements for you to take the exam early.

If you miss an exam unexpectedly and wish to have the absence considered excused, then you must meet with the me at the earliest opportunity possible after the absence, and provide documentation to support your claim that the absence should be considered excused. If the absence is excused, then I will substitute the average number of points of your other exams for the missed exam.

For unexcused absences from examinations you will unfortunately receive a score of zero points.

Additional Policies

Attendance and Audits: Attendance is required in this class.  Although attendance will not affect your grade, I will take roll, and I will list absences on midterm and final grade reports. Students who miss class are still responsible for the material covered and for any assignments distributed.  Students who are auditing the course must attend at least 75% of the class meetings in order to receive a passing grade.

Personal Electronic Devices: Students must respect their fellow students and not disrupt class. Therefore, cell phones, pagers, other such alarms, or personal conversations which disturb the lecture are not allowed.  Students with personal laptops may bring them to class; however, laptops are not required for this course.

Grade of Incomplete (I): Incomplete grades will only be given in extreme circumstances, such as illness, death in a student's immediate family, or similar circumstances beyond a student's control.

No Food or Drinks in Class: It is the CSE department's policy that you can't eat or dink in Butler 100.

Drop / Add Policy: This class follows Mississippi State University's Official Drop/Add Policy:

Add/drop without penalty: A student has through the fifth class day into the semester to add a course and through the tenth class day to drop a course without being assessed a fee or academic penalty.

Drop after the tenth class day through the 30th class day into the semester: A student who elects to drop a course during this period must receive the approval of his/her advisor, will be assigned a W on his/her academic record, and be assessed a fee. The advisor who permits the drop will specify its effective date.

Drop after the 30th class day into the semester: A student cannot drop courses after this period except in documented cases of serious illness, extreme hardship, or failure of the instructor to provide significant assessment of his/her performance. A request to drop a course during this period must be approved by the student's advisor and academic dean. The dean who permits the drop will specify its effective date. A student receiving permission to drop will receive a W on his/her academic record and be assessed a fee.

Faculty are expected to provide a student with significant evidence or assessment of his/her class performance within the first six weeks.

Last modified: September 18, 2006