Princeton University
Computer Science Dept.

Computer Science 435
Information Retrieval, Discovery, and Delivery

Andrea LaPaugh

Spring 2017

General Information | Schedule and AssignmentsProject Page | Announcements

Course Summary

This course examines the methods used to gather, organize and search for information in large digital collections (e.g. web search engines).   It also explores the discovery of information through the analysis of relationships between items of interest, including both information items and social objects.  We study classic techniques of indexing documents and searching text and also algorithms that exploit properties of the Web (e.g. links),  of social networks and of other digital collections, including multimedia collections. Techniques include those for relevance and ranking of documents, exploiting user history, clustering and network analysis. We also examine systems aspects of search technology: how distributed computing and storage are used to make information delivery efficient.


COS  226 and MAT 202.

Administrative Information

Meeting time:  Monday, Wednesday 1:30-2:50pm
Meeting place:  Friend 111
Extra meetings: If we need to make up a class due to my schedule, we may have a class during reading period and/or an evening class during the semester. Class participants will be consulted before any make-up class time is chosen.

Professor: Andrea LaPaugh, aslp@cs. ...
304 Computer Science Building, 258-4568
Office hours: Tuesdays, 2:30 to 4:00pm or by appointment.  Easiest way to make an appointment is by email.

Teaching Assistant:  Mayank Mahajan, mmahajan@ ...
Office hours:  Mondays,  3:00 to 4:30pm in the Tea Room

Course secretary: Mitra Kelly, 323 CS building, 258-4562, mkelly@cs. ...

For email addresses specified above, "..." stands for


Required reading:
Options other than buying the printed books:  The print version of each of the three books below is available online through a Princeton University Library subscription to Safari books online.   You must access these from domain   Also, each of the books has a version available for download as a pdf file.  Details are given below.
Primary text book: We will also use selections from the following two books.

Supplemental reading (check back for additions as we progress in the semester):

On reserve at Engineering Library:

Work of the Course

The course will have the following components weighted as indicated:

Problem sets

There will be 6 problem sets distributed throughout the semester. 


There will two take-home exams during the semester, each covering roughly half the course material. There is no exam during final exam period.


Students will do a final project in pairs.  The choice of topic is up to each pair, but must be related to the material of the course. The project must be approved in advance by the course instructor.  See the project page for more information and a list of suggested projects.


The course has a Piazza account: COS 435 - Spring 2017.   All assignments will be made available on the Piazza course account.  Piazza will also be used for all course announcements and quick questions.   Students are responsible for registering on Piazza and adding themselves to the course account.  Students are also responsible for monitoring the postings on the Piazza cos 435 site for important course announcements.  Piazza is great for sharing questions and answers with the class (private questions addressed only to the instructors are also possible).  However, an old fashioned face-to-face meeting is still best for addressing deeper confusions and other technical discussions.

The course schedule is on the Schedule and Assignments page of the course Web site. ``Handouts'' and copies of any slides used in class will be posted on this page.  Schedule changes will be made on Schedule and Assignments and announced on Piazza


(This is the general list of topics and probably a superset of what we will have time to cover.  Please see Schedule and Assignments for specific topics and reading assignments as the semester progresses)

A.S. LaPaugh content last changed  Tue Feb 28 12:31:11 EST 2017