CS 168: The Modern Algorithmic Toolbox, Spring 2021


Administrative Information


Course Assistants:

Lecture Time/location: Mon/Wed, 1-2:20pm @ your sofa.

Piazza site

Prerequisites: CS107 and CS161, or permission from the instructor.

Course Description

This course will provide a rigorous and hands-on introduction to the central ideas and algorithms that constitute the core of the modern algorithms toolkit. Emphasis will be on understanding the high-level theoretical intuitions and principles underlying the algorithms we discuss, as well as developing a concrete understanding of when and how to implement and apply the algorithms. The course will be structured as a sequence of one-week investigations; each week will introduce one algorithmic idea, and discuss the motivation, theoretical underpinning, and practical applications of that algorithmic idea. Each topic will be accompanied by a mini-project in which students will be guided through a practical application of the ideas of the week. Topics include modern techniques in hashing, dimension reduction, linear and convex programming, gradient descent and regression, sampling and estimation, compressive sensing, and linear-algebraic techniques (principal components analysis, singular value decomposition, spectral techniques).

Proposed Lecture Schedule


Collaboration Policy

You can discuss the problems at a high level with other groups and contact the course staff (via Piazza or office hours) for additional help. And of course, you are encouraged to help respond to Piazza questions .

You may refer to the course notes and research papers linked from the course webpage, and can also use other references that you find online. You may *NOT* consult solution sets or code from past offerings of this course. Services such as CourseHero are strictly forbidden, and if you try to sell my lecture notes or your solution sets to these sites, a well-paid lawyer representing Stanford will be in contact with you : ) [Please don't do this!] Of course, you are expected to understand everything that is written on any assignment turned in with your name; if you do refer to references, make sure you cite them appropriately, and make sure that all your words are your own.

You are also permitted to use general resources for whatever programming language you choose to use. None of the assignments require you to write much code, and *you may NOT reuse any code from friends/internet sources related to previous offerings of this course*. If you use helper functions or code snippets that you did not write yourself (aside from standard python packages, etc.) you must clearly cite the source in your writeup.

Please follow the honor code.