FSU Seal - 1851


    COT 5405 Advanced Algorithms
    Spring Semester 2007

This course is designed for mixed mode participation, meaning that students may participate in the course via web-based media when unable to attend class on campus. Distribution of course materials, including calendar and assignments, is accomplished via the web; class discussions and other communications are facilitated via Blackboard; and any required deliverables may be posted electronically. Thus when a student is unable to attend class, deliverables are still required to be submitted on time, and any required presentations may be posted on line.

The content, objectives, assignments, assessments, and grading are the same for all students. Obviously, however, on-campus, mixed-mode, and distance students sometimes participate in different ways.

Regular participation via the Blackboard course interface is required. Official course announcements, lecture materials, assignments, and help archives will all be on-line at this site. Note that all registered students should have the course web site listed on their My FSU portal page. Be sure to test this and resolve any difficulties no later than the first week of classes.

Class will be met and attendance is required unless specific arrangements have been made in advance. (See schedule details below.) All exams will be given in class during scheduled class time.

Class Schedule
Class Meeting   TEC 128   Jan 10 - Apr 26 (excluding Mar 7)   Wed5:00pm - 7:30pm (Central Time)
Instructor: Chris Lacher
Office: 112 Faculty Annex B / Panama City Campus 
Office Phone (during office hours): 850-522-5502 or 866-693-7872 ext 251 
Mobile Phone/Voice Mail (24/7): 850-510-5575 
Email:  lacher@cs.fsu.edu
Mail & Delivery: Florida State University
4750 Collegiate Drive
Panama City, FL 32405-1099
Lacher Weekly Schedule Effective Jan 8 - Apr 28, 2007 (excluding Jan 15 and Mar 5-9)


The course COP 4531 is a required prerequisite for COT 5405. COP 4531 is a capstone course in our undergraduate curriculum with the following prerequisit tree:

                            /   |   \
                    COP4530  MAD3105  STA3032/STA4442
                   /   |   \    |   \    |
            COP3330 CDA3101 MAD2104   MAC2312

These courses represent a significant and deep body of knowledge that is fundamental to success in our graduate program. The courses include: Calculus I and II, Discrete Mathematics I and II, Probability and Statisctics for Engineers, Computer Organization, Object Oriented Programming, Generic Programming, Data Structures, and Analysis of Algorithms. This knowledge will be assumed and used routinely in this course.


Algorithms lie in the intersection of computer theory, computer systems, computer software, and computer applications and thus arguably constitute the core of computing. A familiarty with known algorithms, an ability to derive and prove correctness of new algorithms and to evaluate their computational costs, and knowledge of how and when to use various algorithms is an essential part of the repertoire of researchers, developers, and other computer professionals.


The course will address the following topics:

  • Sorting and Order Algorithms, including:
    heap algorithms, quicksort, mergesort, radix and bucket sort, medians and order statistics
  • Set Algorithms (and supporting data structures), including:
    red-black trees, B-trees, binomial and fibanacci heaps, hash tables
  • Graph Algorithms, including:
    depth- and breadth- first search, topological sort, minimum spanning trees, shortest paths, maximum flow
  • Advanced Topics, from among:
    dynamic programming, greedy algorithms, amortized analysis, sorting networks, matrix operations, linear programming, polynomials and the fast fourier transform, number-theoretic algorithms, string matching, NP-completeness, and approximation algorithms for NP hard problems, AI algorithms, Sepecial Topics


At the end of this course, the student should have the following skills and capabilities.

  • Be familier with the main algorithms in each if the areas mentioned under COURSE DESCRIPTION above
  • For each of these algorithms, understand it's process and be able to apply it effectively
  • For each of these algorithms, be able to prove its correctness and analyze its time complexity in a mathematically rigorous manner
  • Understand the basic techniques behind each of these algorithms
  • Be able to apply the techniques to derive algorithmic solutions for new problems
  • Given a practical application, identify the computational issues and apply suitable algorithms to solve it effectively


  • Textbook: Introduction to Algorithms (2nd edition), T.H. Cormen, C.E. Leiserson, R.L. Rivest, C. Stein, MIT press, 2001 (ISBN 0-262-03293-7). Chapter, Section, and Page numbers without another specific citation refer to this text.
  • Discrete Math Textbook: Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications (6th edition), Kenneth H. Rosen (2007), McGraw-Hill, 2007 (ISBN-13: 978-0-07-288008-3)
  • Materials: Course notes, assignments, and other materials will be released through the Course Organizer and/or Course Calendar
  • Communication: The discussion board and gradebook in Blackboard serve as a primary out-of-class communication tool.


Class Participation: (10%) Students are expected to prepare for class by keeping up with assigned reading, exercises, and review questions. These will be discussed in class.

Assignments: (20%) Assignments consist of approximately three (3) exercises/problem sets that will be assigned in parallel with the course coverage.

Presentation: (20%) Each student will be assigned a presentation topic and deliver a presentation on that topic in class.

Exams: (50%) There will be two exams, a midterm exam (20%) and a final exam (30%).

Course Organizer. Weekly objectives, reading, exercises, review questions, assignments, and exam coverage will be released through the Course Organizer.

Course Calendar. Weekly objectives, reading, exercises, review questions, assignments, and exam coverage will be released through the Course Calendar.


The overall grade for COT 5405 is the weighted average of five (5) parts: Midterm Exam (20%), Final Exam (30%), Assignments (20%), Presentation (20%), and Class Participation (10%).

There will be two exams in COT 5405, a midterm exam and a final exam. The dates for the two exams are shown in Table 1 below.

For on-campus and mixed-mode students: All exams will be given in class during scheduled class time.

For on-line/distance students: All exams must be proctored and taken during the exam window. It is the student's responsibility to arrange for proctored exams in compliance with the FSU standards. Go to the URL http://online.fsu.edu/learningresources/proctoredexam/ for details.

Note that students may be required to identify themselves with official FSU ID to sit an exam.

The following Table 2 summarizes the grade components and their weighting. The final course grade will be determined using Table 3.

Table 1: Exam Schedule
Exam On-Campus Distance Window (Inclusive)
Midterm Exam Wed Feb 28 Fri Mar 2 - Tue Mar 6
Final Exam Wed Apr 25 Fri Apr 20 - Tue Apr 24
 Table 2: Course Component Weighting 
 Item    Weight (Percent) 
 Participation   10 
 Assignments   20 
 Presentation   20 
 Midterm Exam   20 
 Final Exam   30 
 Table 2: Letter Grades  
 Percentage Range   Grade 
 [92 - 100]   A 
 [90 - 92)   A- 
 [88 - 90)   B+ 
 [82 - 88)   B 
 [80 - 82)   B- 
 [78 - 80)   C+ 
 [72 - 78)   C 
 [70 - 72)   C- 
 [68 - 70)   D+ 
 [62 - 68)   D 
 [60 - 62)   D- 
 [0 - 60)   F 
Note that grades below B- will not satisfy requirements for a graduate degree.


First Day Attendance Policy: Official university policy is that any student not attending the first class meeting will be automatically dropped from the class. For distance students, this policy is interpreted as posting to the discussion forum "First Day Attendance" no later than the first day of the semester.

Regular Attendance Policy: The university requires attendance in all classes. Attendance in distance classes shall mean regular access to the course web site via campus.fsu.edu and regular participation in the class discussion forums. Here, "regular" shall mean a substantial amount of time on a weekly basis. Note that individual access statistics are maintained by Blackboard.

Proctored Exam Policy: All exams must be proctored and taken at an approved testing site during the exam window or in class on the designated date. It is the student's responsibility to arrange for proctored exams in compliance with the FSU standards. Go to http://online.fsu.edu/learningresources/proctoredexam/ for details.

Exam Makeup Policy: An exam missed without an acceptable excuse will be recorded as a grade of zero (0). The following are the only acceptable excuses:

  • If submitted prior to the day of the scheduled exam:
    • A written and signed explanation as to why the exam will missed. Illness or required professional travel are acceptable, while discretionary or personal travel are not. In any case the explanation should be accompanied by corroborating documentation, including names and contact information, and the explanation must be accepted by the instructor prior to missing the exam.
    • Evidence from a university official that you will miss the exam due to university sanctioned travel or extracurricular activity.
  • If submitted on or after the day of the scheduled exam:
    • A note from a physician, university dean, spouse, parent, or yourself indicating an illness or other extraordinary circumstance that prevented you from taking the exam and could not be planned for in advance. Again, corroborating information should be supplied.

All excuses must be submitted in writing, must be signed by the excusing authority, and must include complete contact information for the authority, including telephone numbers and address.

Missed exams with acceptable excuse will be made up or assigned the average grade of all other exams, at the option of the course instructor.

Missed, and acceptably excused, final exams will result in the course grade of 'I' and must be made up in the first two weeks of the following semester.

Grade of 'I' Policy: The grade of 'I' will be assigned only under the following exceptional circumstances:

  • The final exam is missed with an accepted excuse for the absence. In this case, the final exam must be made up during the first two weeks of the following semester.
  • Due to an extended illness or other extraordinary circumstance, with appropriate documentation, the student is unable to participate in class for an extended period. In this case, arrangements must be made to make up the missed portion of the course prior to the end of the next semester.

Completion of Work Policy: To be eligible for the grade of A or A-, working versions of all programming assignments must be submitted.


The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University’s expectations for the integrity of students’ academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process.  Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to “. . . be honest and truthful and . . . [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University.”  (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at http://dof.fsu.edu/honorpolicy.htm.)

All students are expected to uphold the Academic Honor Policy. Please note the following items are defined and made violations by the policy:

  1. Plagiarism
  2. Cheating
  3. Unauthorized Group Work
  4. Fabrication, Falsification, and Misrepresentation
  5. Multiple Submission
  6. Abuse of Academic Materials
  7. Complicity in Academic Dishonesty
  8. Attempted ...

Violations of the academic honor policy may result in failing grades and/or dismissal from the university. All students are expected to read and understand the policy.


Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should:
(1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; and
(2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type.  This should be done during the first week of class.

This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.

For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the:

Student Disability Resource Center
97 Woodward Avenue, South
108 Student Services Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167
(850) 644-9566 (voice)
(850) 644-8504 (TDD)

(This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.)


Information regarding the status of FSU in an emergency situation may be obtained from the following sources:

  • For information specific to the Panama City Campus go to the FSUPC web page at http://www.pc.fsu.edu/ or call the Campus Hotline number 850-522-5555
  • For information related to FSU in general and the Tallahassee Campus go to the FSU alerts web page at http://www.fsu.edu/~alerts/
  • For state-wide and national information, go to the Florida Division of Emergency Management information pages at http://www.floridadisaster.org/

Any specific information related to this class will be posted on the course web site or sent via email to your fsu email address.


This syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advanced notice. Such notice will be in the form of an announcement to the course web site on My FSU.