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CS 341: Algorithms, Fall 2019 (Under Construction)

David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science

Contents: General Info, Organization, Lectures, Assignments, Announcements, Other Information and University Policies

Link to S19 information.

General Information

You should attend the section in which you are registered. Do not inconvenience other students by attending other sections.



Eric Blais DC 3122, eric "dot" blais "at" uwaterloo "dot" ca.
Office hours: TBA

Anna Lubiw DC 2334, anna "dot" lubiw "at" uwaterloo "dot" ca.
Office hours: TBA


TA's Name Contact
Vedat Levi Alev vlalev@uwaterloo.ca
Aseem Baranwal arbaranw@uwaterloo.ca
Stavros Birmpilis sbirmpil@uwaterloo.ca
Pavle Bulatovic pbulatov@uwaterloo.ca
Nathaniel Harms nharms@uwaterloo.ca
Vijay Menon v3menon@uwaterloo.ca
Shubhankar Mohapatra s3mohapa@uwaterloo.ca
Akshay Ramachandran a5ramach@uwaterloo.ca
Sachin Vernekar sverneka@uwaterloo.ca

Points of Contact for Common Student Questions

Note: If you decide to e-mail the course staff, you must use your uwaterloo Quest e-mail account (WatIAM/Quest userID @edu.uwaterloo.ca); otherwise we cannot verify who you are and are limited on what we can accept and respond to.

Help Topic Contact
Assignment, Missed Deadline: We do not accept late or emailed assignments. The last files submitted before the deadline will be marked (submit early and often, even if not finished).
If the deadline is missed due to illness or other valid, verifiable reason, see Missed Work Due To Illness below.
Assignment Marking Error: Re-mark request, due within one week of release of marks on MarkUs/Marmoset. Contact the TA who marked the specific question and submit a written request. See TAs for contact information.
Course Website Error: Email CS341 course account
Handouts Error: Instructors - email or check consulting hours listed at
Enrollment: If Quest won't let you enroll or switch LEC or TUT sections without a permission/override number: Instructors and course staff are unable to help you—you must see a CS academic advisor.
Exam Seat (Midterms & Final): Assigned seating. See https://odyssey.uwaterloo.ca/teaching/schedule.
General Course Help: TA office hours or instructor office hours.
Lecture Questions: TA office hours or instructor office hours.
Midterm Remarks: For complaints about exam marking, you need to submit the written request to your section's instructor.
Missed Work Due To Illness/Valid, Verifiable Reason (Assignments, Exams): Assignments, midterms, final exam: Validation required (see Verification of Illness Services at https://uwaterloo.ca/campus-wellness/health-services/student-medical-clinic but substitute Caroline Kierstead (CS 341 ISC) for references to instructor. Make sure you also read the Math Faculty document on the consequences of submitting a VIF.
AccessAbility Services (AAS) exam accommodation forms (request to write at AAS): Submit to AAS at least 3 weeks before exam

Time and Place:


Lecture access cards are available through https://www.student.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~cs341/cgi-bin/displayCards.cgi. -->

Section Lecture Time Room Instructor
LEC 001 08:30-09:50 MW MC 2017 Anna Lubiw
LEC 002 11:30-12:50 TTh PHY 145 Eric Blais
LEC 003 10:00-11:20 TTh PHY 145 Eric Blais


Tutorials start on Friday, September 6.

Section Time Room
LAB 101 08:30-09:20F MC 2034
LAB 102 09:30-10:20F RCH 207
LAB 103 01:30-02:20F RCH 308
LAB 104 03:30-04:20F PHY 313

TA Office Hours:


Mark Breakdown:



We are not following the text exactly, so the lecture notes should be your primary source. These are preliminary notes and might be revised as the term progresses, so check back.
Week Topics & Reading Dates Notes
1   Sept. 4/5 PDF
2   Sept. 9/10 PDF
  Sept. 11/12 PDF


Hand in a PDF file with your solutions via Crowdmark. We encourage you to prepare your solutions using LaTeX but you can use other software or submit handwritten assignments as long as they are legible. We have the right to take marks off for illegible answers.

When the CrowdMark instance is ready, all students enrolled in the class will receive an email with a link to their individual submission site. In order to submit, upload a JPEG or PDF file (multiple pages are allowed) to each question. Please submit a separate file for each question to make the markers' lives easier! You may resubmit as often as necessary until the due date. (More detailed CrowdMark information is available at https://crowdmark.desk.com/customer/portal/articles/1639407-completing-and-submitting-an-assignment.)

Marmoset will be used for the programming questions, and is available at https://marmoset.student.cs.uwaterloo.ca.

Assignments will be handed out and due as follows (dates are tentative and may change):
Assignment Number Handed Out Due Hand In Via Markers Solutions

Instructions for Assignments: Your written solutions will be judged not only for correctness but also for the quality of your presentation and explanations. In questions that involve designing an algorithm, (i) describe the main idea first, (ii) present clearly written pseudocode (e.g., at a level of details mimicking the style of the lectures, the model solutions, or the textbook), (iii) give a correctness proof/argument if it is not immediately obvious, and (iv) include an analysis (usually, of the running time).

The work you hand in must be your own. Acknowledge any sources you have used. Unless specified otherwise, you can always use any result from the textbook, notes, previous assignment, or previous course, just by citing it.

Since solutions will be posted almost immediately online, late assignments will not be accepted under any circumstances. No extensions!

In all assignments and exams, unless otherwise directed, you are expected to justify any claims that you make. The level of explanation we generally expect is "enough to convince a skeptical TA". Usually this means that a complete formal proof from first principles is not needed (unless we say so). Furthermore, since this course is essentially all about efficient use of time and space, strive to make your solutions as efficient as possible. Solutions that are technically correct, but extremely wasteful in terms of time and space, will not receive full credit.

This is not a software engineering course. We will basically never worry about trivial edge cases (such as the case of empty input), or inputs that do not match our specifications. We will not test such trivial edge cases for the programming assignments, and therefore will not take off marks for code that doesn't handle these trivial edge cases correctly. In your solutions, there is no need to spend any time dealing with these (unless you want to). However, your program should take care of the (edge) cases that are crucial to the algorithm's correctness or analysis. For example, unless the problem states so, you should not usually assume that the input size is a power of 2.

The default in this course is that all numbers we deal with are integers. If there are exceptions, we'll let you know.

Some of the algorithms we will discuss in this class have multiple versions and variations. All assignment and exam questions deal with the versions we present. If you choose to learn the material from other sources, such as Wikipedia, rather than from the course notes and textbook, be aware that sometimes these minor differences may affect the answers.


We will use Piazza for all course announcements. So you should enroll yourself at your earliest convenience. During Piazza discussions, please do not reveal the solutions to the assignments by requesting or offering detailed advice. We'll delete comments that reveal too much. Violations can result in academic sanctions.

Similarly, do not solicit hints or provide hints about how to solve the homework problems on other bulletin boards, such as Facebook. Violations can result in academic sanctions.

Piazza is not the place to dispute how assignments are marked. If you have a complaint, please follow the process given above.

Marks will be available through https://www.student.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~cs341/cgi-bin/displayMarks.cgi.


Textbook: [CLRS] Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein, Introduction to Algorithms (3rd ed.), MIT Press, 2009 (QA76.6 .C662 2009).

This book is available electronically through the UW library catalog.

Additional reference: [DPV], Dasgupta, Papadimitriou, Vazirani, Algorithms, available here.

Additional books on DC library reserve for 3-hour loan:

There are three other resources that you might find useful:

Other Information and University Policies


Plagiarism is a very serious academic offence and is penalized accordingly. When you plagiarize you damage the learning experience for yourself and others. To avoid plagiarism accusations, do not copy other people's work, and cite all references that you use. If you work with others, only discuss general aspects of the course material, not specific solutions. Write up the solutions yourself, not in groups.

Mental Health Resources

Mental Health: If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support.

On-campus Resources

Off-campus Resources

Diversity: It is our intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, and that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class. We recognize the immense value of the diversity in identities, perspectives, and contributions that students bring, and the benefit it has on our educational environment. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let us know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups. In particular:

University Policies (University required text)

Academic Integrity:

In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. All members of the UW community are expected to hold to the highest standard of academic integrity in their studies, teaching, and research. The Office of Academic Integrity's website ( http://www.uwaterloo.ca/academicintegrity) contains detailed information on UW policy for students and faculty. This site explains why academic integrity is important and how students can avoid academic misconduct. It also identifies resources available on campus for students and faculty to help achieve academic integrity in - and out - of the classroom.


A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4, http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy70.htm .


A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity, to avoid committing academic offenses, and to take responsibility for his/her actions. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offense, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offenses (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about "rules" for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course professor, academic advisor, or the Undergraduate Associate Dean. When misconduct has been found to have occurred, disciplinary penalties will be imposed under Policy 71 - Student Discipline. For information on categories of offenses and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71 - Student Discipline, http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy71.htm.

Avoiding Academic Offenses:

Most students are unaware of the line between acceptable and unacceptable academic behaviour, especially when discussing assignments with classmates and using the work of other students. For information on commonly misunderstood academic offenses and how to avoid them, students should refer to the Faculty of Mathematics Cheating and Student Academic Discipline Policy, https://uwaterloo.ca/math/current-undergraduates/regulations-and-procedures/cheating-and-student-academic-discipline-guidelines.


A student may appeal the finding and/or penalty in a decision made under Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances (other than regarding a petition) or Policy 71 - Student Discipline if a ground for an appeal can be established. Read Policy 72 - Student Appeals, http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy72.htm .

Course Outline

According to UW rules, we must also point you to this course outline, although most of the information included in it is already repeated above.