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Henry S. Baird    Spring 2014 Course

Advanced Algorithms
CSE/Math 441     3 credits

CRNs:  16763 (CSE);  17775 (Math)  

Note to all students:  this is a graduate-level version of the undergraduate Algorithms course CSE/Math 340, which covers fewer topics and is generally easier; no student may take both of these courses for credit.

Note to CS Ph.D. graduate students:  all first-year CS Ph.D. students are required to take this course. 

Note to CS M.S. graduate students:  this course fulfills both the "Theory" and "Applied Theory" skill areas.

Algorithms are methods for solving information processing problems which are fully automatable and provably correct.  We also need to understand their runtime and memory demands, especially on large inputs.  Fast algorithms for hard, practically important problems are among the key discoveries of computer-science research.  This course presents algorithms for searching, sorting, manipulating graphs and trees, scheduling tasks, finding shortest paths, matching patterns in strings, cryptography, etc---and gives proofs of their correctness and analysis of their time and space complexity. General strategies for designing algorithms---e.g. recursion, divide-and-conquer, greediness, dynamic programming---are stressed. Limits on algorithm efficiency are explored through NP-completeness theory.   Quantum computing is briefly introduced.

Syllabus (approximate):
  • Algorithms with numbers.
  • Divide-and-conquer algorithms: the Fast Fourier Transform.
  • Decompositions of graphs; paths in graphs.
  • Greedy algorithms & matroid theory.
  • Dynamic programming.
  • Computational geometry:  closest-point, line-intersection, Voronoi diagrams, multidimensional search.
  • Linear programming, Max-flow, Min-cost flow, Simplex algorithm, Kachian's algorithm, and primal-dual algorithms.
  • NP-complete problems.
  • Coping with NP-completeness; approximation algorithms.
  • Randomized and amortized algorithms.
  • Quantum algorithms.

Course Objective:  On completing this course, students will be able to design algorithms and to apply knowledge of complexity; and, more generally, to apply mathematics to CS problems. They will be sufficiently familiar with the theory, practice, notation, and vocabulary of algorithm design and analysis to be able to locate in the literature (or design from scratch) provably correct and---to the extent possible---efficient algorithms to solve a wide range of problems. They will understand how to judge whether or not a new problem is likely to have an efficient algorithm.  They will also have a grasp of basic engineering issues arising in the implementation, adaptation, and application of algorithms.

Instructor:   Henry Baird, Prof., CSE Dept, hsb2@lehigh.edu. Office:  Packard Lab 380.   Office Hours: Wednesdays 12:10-1:00 PM, or by appointment. He will grade all exams and final project reports.

Grader (for homeworks only):

Xin Wang facepic;


 Xin Wang 




To ask questions about homework problems or grades, contact her by email; if you wish, she will arrange to meet you in person.

Lectures Time and Place: Tues/Thurs, 2:35 - 3:50 PM, Packard Laboratory room 258.

Exams: There is one hour exam (in-class midterm on Thursday March 13th) and, by default, one final 3-hour exam:  these are written open-book exams.   Instead of taking a final exam, students have these alternative options: (a) carry out a challenging algorithm design project; or (b) write an extended technical report (e.g. a thorough critique of the literature about an algorithm or problem).

Grading:  25% homework, 25% hour exam, 50% final exam/final project/final report).

Course Site:  CSE-441-Math-441-SP14 Advanced Algorithms. We will use the University's online facility CourseSite to distribute assigned readings, lecture notes, homeworks, grades, etc. Once you enroll in the course, browse coursesite.lehigh.edu, login using your Univ. email id and Portal password, and you should be admitted to this site. If you can't login, email the instructor immediately.

Textbook (required):  S. Dasgupta, C. Papadimitriou, and U. Vazirani, Algorithms, McGraw-Hill, 2008, 336 pages, softcover. (ISBN-13 9780073523408; ISBN-10 0073523402) [publisher's page]. If there are no copies available in the Univ. bookstore, email me immediately.  A desk copy may be consulted in the CSE Dept office PL 354 when the office is open (but the copy cannot be taken away). Another extra copy is available in Dr. Baird's office (PL380) when he's there (but, again, the copy can't be taken away).

Supplementary text (not required):  

Combinatorial Optimization: Algorithms and Complexity , C. H. Papadimitriou & K. Steiglitz, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1982 (ISBN-10 0-13-152462-3).


  • No prior knowledge of algorithms is assumed.
  • Familiarity with mathematical proof techniques---e.g. proof by induction, proof by contradiction, proof by case analysis, etc---is strongly assumed.
  • Linear Algebra---or familiarity with elementary linear algebra & matrices (e.g. LU Math 205).
  • Basic Applied Probability---or familiarity with elementary discrete probability theory (e.g. LU Math 231 or Math 309 or CSC 450).

If you have any questions, ask the instructor: Henry Baird, hsb2@lehigh.edu.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting accommodations, please contact both your instructor and the Office of Academic Support Services, University Center 212 (610-758-4152) as early as possible in the semester.  You must have documentation from the Academic Support Services office before accommodations can be granted.

Lehigh University endorses The Principles of Our Equitable Community (http://www4.lehigh.edu/diversity/principles). We expect each member of this class to acknowledge and practice these Principles. Respect for each other and for differing viewpoints is a vital component of the learning environment inside and outside the classroom.

© 2003 P.C. Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science
Computer Science & Engineering, Packard Laboratory, Lehigh University, Bethlehem PA 18015