Syllabus

Description. This course surveys the most important algorithms and data structures in use on computers today. Particular emphasis is given to algorithms for sorting, searching, graphs, and strings. The course concentrates on developing implementations, understanding their performance characteristics, and estimating their potential effectiveness in applications.

Prerequisites. COS 126 or ISC 231–234 or approval by the COS placement officer.

Lectures. Lectures meet at 11–12:20pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays over Zoom. Attendance is required.

Precepts. Precepts meet once per week and cover details pertinent to programming assignments, quizzes, and exams. Come prepared to participate in the discussion, not just ask questions. This includes reading the assignment specification before the corresponding precept.

Course staff.

Kevin Wayne
Faculty
Instructor

Maia Ginsburg
Faculty
Instructor

Dan Leyzberg
Faculty
Instructor

Qingchen Dang
Graduate Student
Preceptor

Akash Gaonkar
Graduate Student
Preceptor

Danqi Liao
Graduate Student
Preceptor

Lahav Lipson
Graduate Student
Preceptor

Victor Ongkowijaya
Graduate Student
Preceptor

Chloe Qiu
Graduate Student
Preceptor

The staff is complemented by a team of Undergraduate Course Assistants who assist in precepts and office hours (Aliya Ismagilova, Alkin Kaz, Allison Chou, Ananya Parashar, Justin Sherman, Harvey Wang, Ryan Eusebi, and Tejas Gupta) and grading (Alex Valtchanov, Alkin Kaz, Allison Chou, Brendan Zelikman, Christine Sun, Connor Hainje, Creston Brooks, Emre Onal, Erin Vuong, Howard Yen, Jake Intrater, Jenny Sun, Julio Cezar Castro Lins Barroso, Karen Li, Katie McLaughlin, Mandy Lin, Natalie O'Leary, Natalie Reptak, Nick Padmanabhan, Nika Belova, Rishi Dange, Ryan Eusebi, Sam Liang, Scott Aravena, Shannon Heh, Taylor Akin, Tri Dinh, Trivan Menezes, Yoni Goldberg, and Zoha Enver).

Office hours. You are welcome to attend the office hours of any staff member. Office hours are listed on the Help page.

Schedule. Here is the schedule for lectures and precepts.
TIME LOCATION PERSON FACILITATOR
L01 T Th
11–12:20pm
Zoom Kevin
Wayne
P01 Th
3–4:20pm
Zoom Dan
Leyzberg
Justin
Sherman
P02 Th
4:30–5:50pm
Zoom Victor
Ongkowijaya
Ananya
Parashar
P03 F
11–12:20pm
Zoom Qingchen
Dang
Aliya
Ismagilova
P04 F
11–12:20pm
Zoom Maia
Ginsburg
Tejas
Gupta
P05 F
1:30–2:50pm
Zoom Lahav
Lipson
Aliya
Ismagilova
P06 F
1:30–2:50pm
Zoom Akash
Gaonkar
Alkin
Kaz
P07 F
3–4:20pm
Zoom Danqi
Liao
Harvey
Wang
P08 F
3–4:20pm
Zoom Dan
Leyzberg
Ryan
Eusebi
P10 Th
7:30–8:50pm
Zoom Chloe
Qiu
Allison
Chou

ASSESSMENTS

Programming assignments. The programming assignments involve applying the material from lecture to solve problems in science, engineering, and commerce.

Quizzes. The quizzes consist of two or three short questions per lecture, to ensure that you are keeping up with the material.

Exams. The midterm exam is Monday, March 22. The final exam is scheduled by the Registrar.

iClickers. To make the lectures more interactive, we will be using iClicker Reef (iOS, Android, or Web app). Sign up for a iClicker Reef acount; select Princeton University as the institution; use your Princeton email address for the registration; and select COS 226, Spring 2021 as the course. After the 2-week free trial ends, you will need a paid subscription.

Course grades. Your grade for the course will be based on the following components: programming assignments (45%), quizzes (10%), midterm exam (15%), final exam (25%), and participation (5%).

Participation. Participation in this course is fundamental to engaged learning, including using iClickers in lecture and making positive contributions in precept. You are expected to attend each scheduled class on time and ready to participate fully. Blanket waivers will be granted only for exceptional circumstances (such as living in a distant time zone, inadequate internet connectivity, or an unworkable home environment), as documented by your residential college.

Regrades. If you believe that your work was misgraded, write a short note describing the potential mistake; attach it to the graded work; and email it to your preceptor within two weeks of when the work was returned.

RESOURCES

Course website. This course website includes links to course content, including lecture slides, precept lessons, programming assignments, quizzes, and old exams.

Algorithms, 4th edition

Canvas. We will post Zoom links and Zoom recording in Canvas.

Textbook. Algorithms, 4th edition by Robert Sedgewick and Kevin Wayne. Addison-Wesley Professional, 2011, ISBN 0-321-57351-X. The assigned readings are required.

Booksite. The booksite contains many useful resources while programming.

Studio-produced lecture videos. You can access studio-produced lecture videos via CUvids.

Discussion forum. The best way to ask a short question about the course materials is via Ed Discussion, an online discussion forum where you can ask (and answer) questions.

Programming environment. We recommend developing Java programs for this course on your personal laptop or desktop. Here are instructions for setting up a custom IntelliJ-based programming environment under Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

Lab TAs. Undergraduate lab TAs are available to answer general computing questions via Zoom. They can assist you in debugging, provided you have first made a reasonable effort to identify the bug and isolate the problem. For non-debugging questions, use Ed Discussion or office hours.