CS388R: Randomized Algorithms (Fall 2017)

Logistics: Tue/Thu 2:00 - 3:30
GDC 5.302
Course web page: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~ecprice/courses/randomized/
Professor: Eric Price
Email: ecprice@cs.utexas.edu
Office: GDC 4.510
Office Hours: 1-2pm Wednesday
TA: Subham Ghosh
Office Hours: Monday 11:30am-12:30pm, Friday 10:30am-11:30am
GDC 1.302, Desk 3 on Monday and Desk 2 on Friday.
Useful References: Last year's offering has relevant information. Similar courses are offered at MIT and Berkeley.
Problem Sets: Problem sets will be due every other week.
Lecture Notes:
Content: This graduate course will study the use of randomness in algorithms. Over the past thirty years, randomization has become an increasingly important part of theoretical computer science. The tentative outline for the course is as follows:
  • Basic probability; the minimax principle; limited independence
  • More advanced concentration of measure: subgaussian and subgamma variables
  • Balls in bins; negatively associated random variables
  • Hashing: universal, perfect, cuckoo
  • Fingerprinting; Bloom filters
  • Network coding; edge connectivity
  • Graph sparsification
  • Parallel algorithms; symmetry breaking
  • Randomized approximation algorithms
  • Streaming algorithms
  • Stochastic gradient descent; SVRG
  • Random walks: cover times, markov chains, mixing rates.
Prerequisites: Mathematical maturity and comfort with undergraduate algorithms and basic probability.
Grading: 40%: Homework
15%: Final exam
15%: Midterm exam
20%: Scribing lectures
10%: Participation
Scribing: In each class, two students will be assigned to take notes. These notes should be written up in a standard LaTeX format before the next class.
Text: You may find the text Randomized Algorithms by Motwani and Raghavan to be useful, but it is not required.
There will be a homework assignment every 2 weeks.

Collaboration policy: You are encouraged to collaborate on homework. However, you must write up your own solutions. You should also state the names of those you collaborated with on the first page of your submission.
Students with
Any student with a documented disability (physical or cognitive) who requires academic accommodations should contact the Services for Students with Disabilities area of the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259 (voice) or 471-4641 (TTY for users who are deaf or hard of hearing) as soon as possible to request an official letter outlining authorized accommodations.