ICS 311 Fall 2017 General Course Information

Catalog Description

ICS 311 Algorithms (3 credits) Design and correctness of algorithms, including divide-and-conquer, greedy and dynamic programming methods. Complexity analyses using recurrence relations, probabilistic methods, and NP-completeness. Applications to order statistics, disjoint sets, B-trees and balanced trees, graphs, network flows, and string matching. Pre: 211 and 241, or consent.

(Our practice is to not admit without a passing grade in 211 and 241.)

SLOs (Student Learning Outcomes)

Students will develop an ability to apply mathematical foundations, algorithmic principles, and computer science theory to the modeling and design of computer-based systems. Specifically:

Comment: On the fall 2013 final exam one student wrote about a problem:

"This question is too hard! We shouldn't have to know implementations we have not used before!"

This is exactly what this course is intended to teach! You may not "know" an implementation you have not encountered before, but this course should prepare you with the tools to analyze and make informed decisions about not only new implementations, but even new algorithms.

Do not approach this course solely as a memorization task, where you can only do algorithms you are trained to do, like a circus animal trained to do tricks! You will learn a "catalog" of algorithms, but you should also understand their analyses as examples that enable you to analyze unexpected algorithms in the future. This is essential for being successful in a fast changing field where you are expected to figure out whether a new idea will work, as you will be the computer scientist hired to do this.


Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest and Clifford Stein, Introduction to Algorithms, Third Edition, The MIT Press, 2009.

This textbook will be referenced as CLRS after the authors. Students are advised to purchase the textbook, as this book will serve as a lifelong reference. It is the second most cited publication in computer science!

Other reading material will also be provided.

Students are also advised to keep their ICS 241 (Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science) textbooks for reference.

Instructor, Section 1, MW 3:00-4:40pm Webster 101

Dan Suthers
Professor of ICS

Instructor, Section 2, TTh 3:00-4:40 and Section 3, TTh 5:00-6:40 Webster 101

Jan Stelovsky
Associate Professor of ICS

Teaching Assistants

Nancy Mogire
ICS PhD Student

Branden Ogata
ICS MS Student


Questions about Course Content
In general, questions about course content such as concepts, clarifications of assignments, etc. should be posted to the Laulima discussion forum of the week. This is because (1) other students can see our responses there, and thus also benefit; and (2) other students may notice the question and answer before the instructor or TA notices it. If you email us a question, we will post the reply in Laulima unless personal information is involved.
Personal Topics
For topics that are not of interest to other students or are personal, you may email us, or stop by office hours. (Of course you may also use office hours for course content questions.) If using email, put "ICS 311" in the subject line.
Communication with other students (e.g., group members)
You can send email to other students in the course using the Laulima "Mailtool". You don't need to know their real email address to do this.

Online Media

Section 1 uses the course website www2.hawaii.edu/~suthers/courses/ics311f17/ for posting schedules and notes. Section 2 site TBA.

We use Laulima for all other online required course functions such as podcasts, quizzes, discussions and submitting assignments. Please see this document on everything Laulima users should know.

We will use Google Docs for in-class problem solving, as it supports simultaneous editing. Please plan on bringing a laptop or tablet to class, and ensure that you are familiar with Google Docs.

Screencasts (videos) of lectures are available on YouTube as well as Laulima (your choice). They are linked from the individual Notes pages (the pages named Topic-XX.html on the www2 web site above), and can also be found in the Resources/Podcasts folder in Laulima.

Dan Suthers
Last modified: Wed Aug 23 23:45:35 HST 2017