CS 624 Course Requirements and Grading (Spring 2006)

Course Requirements

The course requirements for CS 624 include six problem sets, two prelims, and a final exam. The problem sets will be part written exercises and part programming. The written exercises will involve design and analysis of algorithms and will require mathematical proofs in many cases. The programming will be in Matlab on either Unix or Windows workstations. Matlab is a high-level language for numerical computation. Prior knowledge of Matlab is a prerequisite of the course, although a review session may be provided.

The first prelim, scheduled for Tues., Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m., Upson 205, will be a closed-book 75-minute exam. The second prelim will be a three-day take-home exam handed out on Tuesday, Mar. 28 or Friday, Mar. 31 (at the student's option) and due three days later. The final exam will also be a three-day take-home, handed out on either May 5 or May 8 (at student's option) and due three days later.

Problem sets will be due a week after they are handed out. There will be a late penalty of 10% for homework handed in up to 24 hours late. No homeworks will be accepted more than 24 hours late.

The exams will cover topics drawn from the lectures and homework, and from the underlying mathematics---you are not responsible for any outside reading.


The problem sets count for 30% of the final grade. The lowest scoring problem set out of the six will be dropped. One of the homeworks may be skipped, in which case this is the one that will be dropped.

The two prelims will each count for 20% of the final grade, and the final will count for 30%.

Grade guarantee: A score of at least 88% guarantees an A- or better in the course. A score of at least 78% guarantees a B- or better. These cutoffs may be lowered at the instructor's discretion but not raised.

Academic integrity

Students are allowed to collaborate on the problem sets to the extent of formulating ideas as a group. Each student is expected to write up the problem set by himself or herself. Students must not hand in homework that represents somebody else's ideas entirely. Students should do the coding for programming questions by themselves---no program code should be shared. No collaboration of any kind is allowed on the take-home exams.

Students are permitted to consult outside published material for the homework and take-home prelims, although the homework and prelim will be fully based on lecture notes and the textbook. If a student consults a source other than the lecture notes and textbook, he or she must cite the source---failure to cite the source will be considered cheating.

The penalty for cheating will be an F for the course, following a hearing with the instructor as spelled out in the academic integrity manual. In extreme circumstances the instructor will in addition bring the case before the university's academic integrity board.

Stephen A. Vavasis, Computer Science Department, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, vavasis@cs.cornell.edu

handed out 1/23/06