CS 695 Fall 2010
Special Topics on Theoretical Computer Science

Approximation Algorithms

Lecture Time: Tuesdays 7:20 pm - 10:00 pm
Location: Innovation Hall 134
Course webpage: http://www.cs.gmu.edu/~lifei/teaching/cs695_fall10/
Credit: 3

Instructor: Fei Li, Room 5326, Engineering Building, email: lifei@cs.gmu.edu
Office hours: Thursday 4:15pm - 6:15pm


Course Overview:

The area of approximation algorithms is aimed at giving provable guarantees on the performance of algorithms for hard problems. In this course, we will learn approximation algorithms and their analysis. We will also discuss about online algorithms and competitive analysis.


CS 583 or equivalent, or permission of the instructor. Please contact with the instructor if you are not sure.

Recommended Books:

Course Materials: (Tentative)

Lectures Dates Topics Lecture Notes Scopes Notes
1 August 31 Introduction      
2 September 7        
3 September 14        
4 September 21        
5 September 28        
6 October 5      
7 October 12        
8 October 19        
9 October 26        
10 November 2        
11 November 9        
12 November 16      
Thanksgiving recess

No class

November 23        
13 December 7        
14 December 14       Project presentations


Paper List (Papers are to be added in this list along the course):



Tentative Grading:

  1. Assignments (20%)

  2. Two presentations (40%)

  3. A project. You can work on designing and analyzing an approximation algorithm for a NP-hard problem, or designing and analyzing an online algorithm for an online problem, or implementing some known approximation algorithms for some specific applications and provide experimental analysis. (40%)


Academic Honesty:

The integrity of the University community is affected by the individual choices made by each of us. GMU has an Honor Code with clear guidelines regarding academic integrity. Three fundamental and rather simple principles to follow at all times are that: (1) all work submitted be your own; (2) when using the work or ideas of others, including fellow students, give full credit through accurate citations; and (3) if you are uncertain about the ground rules on a particular assignment, ask for clarification. No grade is important enough to justify academic misconduct. Plagiarism means using the exact words, opinions, or factual information from another person without giving the person credit. Writers give credit through accepted documentation styles, such as parenthetical citation, footnotes, or endnotes. Paraphrased material must also be cited, using MLA or APA format. A simple listing of books or articles is not sufficient. Plagiarism is the equivalent of intellectual robbery and cannot be tolerated in the academic setting. If you have any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism, please see me.

Disability Statement:

If you have a learning or physical difference that may affect your academic work, you will need to furnish appropriate documentation to the Disability Resource Center. If you qualify for accommodation, the DRC staff will give you a form detailing appropriate accommodations for your instructor. In addition to providing your professors with the appropriate form, please take the initiative to discuss accommodation with them at the beginning of the semester and as needed during the term. Because of the range of learning differences, faculty members need to learn from you the most effective ways to assist you. If you have contacted the Disability Resource Center and are waiting to hear from a counselor, please tell me.