• Professor Borradaile's office hours during term are Tuesday and Thursday 3:30-5:00PM in KEC 3071. Office hours on Thursday may occasionally be shortened to end at 4:30PM. If you need to meet with Prof. Borradaile before term, email her to set up an appointment or ask questions. Note that Prof. Borradaile is very strict about course pre-requisites.
    She will be available immediately after class for quick questions as well.
  • This course is required for every Ph.D. student and is recommended for M.S. students who are taking "Theory" as an area.
  • TA: Theresa Migler-VonDollen's office hours will be held before each exam: Monday of week 4 1-2PM and Friday of week 7 12-1PM.
  • All course information and resources will be provided here. Most reading materials are provided by Prof. Jeff Erickson at UIUC.
  • This web-page serves as the course syllabus.
  • Your grades are available here. Your ID is calculated from your student ID number (that starts with 93) by multiplying the middle three digits with the last three digits.


This schedule is subject to change. Events, such as due dates, are confirmed when bold.

Week Monday Wednesday
1 Introduction

Am I Ready For This? Quizupload
To prepare: review breadth- and depth-first searches, asymptotic notation, Dijkstra and MST algorithms, recurrence relations, induction.
2 Divide and Conquer


Quiz retake at 5.30PM in KEC 1005.

PSS1: D&Qupload Groups and assignmentsupload
3 Greedy
Prof. Borradaile is out of town this week; office hours are cancelled.

Theresa will have an office hour in the artium from 1-2pm on Tuesday.

PSS2: Greedyupload Groups and assignmentsupload
Prof. Borradaile is out of town this week; office hours are cancelled.
4 Matroids: a bonus

Test 1: D&C and greedy (matroids not explicitly covered)
5 Dynamic Programming


Prof. Borradaile's office hours on Tuesday are cancelled due to a COE all-faculty meeting.

Dynamic Programming, cont.
6 PSS3: DPupload Randomized algorithms

Reading before class
After class:
7 PSS4: Randomupload Flow
Reading 1
Reading 2
8 Test 2: DP and random Flow applications
9 PSS 5: Flowupload [class is cancelled]

Although class is cancelled, you should still submit your writeup for PSS 5 by 10AM today.
10 Linear Programming
Reading 1
Reading 2
PSS 6: LPupload
Note: there will be no written solutions submitted for this session, but questions of this type are fair game for the final test. Solutions to these questions will not be provided, so make the most of the problem solving session!

Bonus office hours: Friday December 6, 1-1.30PM in KEC Atrium
11 Test 3: Flow and LP on Tuesday December 10 at 9.30AM in KEAR 305 (confirmed)


For the Problem-Solving Sessions (PSS), you will be assigned a group and 2 questions to solve before the session with your group. At the session, your group (Group A) will explain your solutions to another group Group B. Group A and B then swap roles. Instructor/TA are on hand to make sure that correct solutions and ideas are arrived at. You will get 1 point for showing up.

After the PSS, you will write up and submit to TEACH (by the next lecture) a typeset solution to one problem whose solution was explained to you during the PSS (chosen by the instructor). Be concise, solutions that are longer than 1 page will not be considered for grading. Write-ups must be prepared using latex. Latex makes the typesetting of mathematical formulae very easy. For a comprehensive tutorial, see this wikibook. Here is an example templateupload which compiles to this pdfupload. You are encouraged to include figures.
You will earn:

  • 3 points for a passing solution submitted by the start of next lecture
  • 2 points for a failing solution submitted by the start of next lecture
  • 1 point for a passing solution submitted late (but before solutions are posted to the course website)
  • no points if you do not submit a solution or submit a failing solution late.

For each question, one or more 'best' solutions will be selected, corrected and posted to the course website to serve as a study aid for the course. The writer of this solution will receive a bonus point.

These points are percentage points for your final grade. Thus each PSS is worth 4 points or 4% of your final grade (with an additional possible bonus point).

Your grade will be determined as follows:

5%Am-I-Ready-For-This Quiz
20%Problem solving sessions
75%Tests (25% each)

Students with Disabilities

Accommodations are collaborative efforts between students, faculty and Disability Access Services (DAS). Students with accommodations approved through DAS are responsible for contacting the faculty member in charge of the course prior to or during the first week of the term to discuss accommodations. Students who believe they are eligible for accommodations but who have not yet obtained approval through DAS should contact DAS immediately at 737-4098.