Sanjeev Arora on rethinking the graduate algorithms course

Windows On Theory

[Below is a guest post from Sanjeev Arora on his redesign of the traditional graduate algorithms course to be a better match for today’s students. –Boaz]

For the last two years I have tried new ideas in teaching algorithms at the graduate level. The course is directed at first year CS grads, but is also taken by grads from related disciplines, and many advanced undergrads. (Links to course homepage, and single file with all course materials.)

The course may be interesting to you if, like me, you are rethinking the traditional choice of topics. The following were my thoughts behind the redesign:

  • The environment for algorithms design and use has greatly changed since the 1980s. Problems tend to be less cleanly stated (as opposed to “bipartite matching” or “maximum flow”) and often involve high-dimensional and/or noisy inputs. Continuous optimization is increasingly important.
  • As the last theory course my students (grad or…

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