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Computer Science Syllabus - Data Structures and Algorithms
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Data Structures and Algorithms

Lecturer: Dr F.M. Stajano

No. of lectures: 16

This course is a prerequisite for Algorithms II, Computer Graphics and Image Processing, Complexity Theory, Artificial Intelligence I.


The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to computer algorithms and data structures, with an emphasis on foundational material. It is suitable for people who did not take discrete mathematics in Part IA.


  • Discrete Mathematics. Common mathematical notation. Proofs. Induction. Sets, tuples, functions. Relations and Graphs. Combinations and permutations. [Ref: Ch 1; App B, C] [3-4 lectures]

  • Algorithm Fundamentals. Algorithm analysis and design. Models of a computer; costs. Asymptotic notation. Computational complexity. Recurrences. Ideas for algorithm design: divide and conquer, dynamic programming, greedy algorithms and other useful paradigms. [Ref: Ch 1, 2, 3, 4, 15, 16] [2-3 lectures]

  • Sorting. Insertion sort. Merge sort. Heapsort. Quicksort. Other sorting methods. Finding the minimum and maximum. [Ref: Ch 2, 6, 7, 8, 9] [4-5 lectures]

  • Data structures. Abstract data types. Pointers, stacks, queues, lists, trees. Hash tables. Binary search trees. Red-black trees. B-trees. Priority queues and heaps. [Ref: Ch 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21] [5-7 lectures]


At the end of the course students should

  • have a good understanding of how several fundamental algorithms work, particularly those concerned with sorting and searching

  • have a good understanding of the fundamental data structures used in computer science

  • be able to analyse the space and time efficiency of most algorithms

  • be able to design new algorithms or modify existing ones for new applications and reason about the efficiency of the result

Recommended reading

* Cormen, T.H., Leiserson, C.D., Rivest, R.L. & Stein, C. (2001). Introduction to Algorithms. MIT Press (2nd ed.). ISBN 0-262-53196-8
Sedgewick, R. (2004). Algorithms in Java, vol 1. (note that C and C++ editions are also available and are equally good for this course). Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-36120-5.
Kleinberg, J. & Tardos, É. (2006). Algorithm design. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-321-29535-8.
Knuth, D.E. (1997). The art of computer programming (three volumes so far; a boxed set is also available). Addison-Wesley (3rd ed.). ISBN 0-201-89683-4, 0-201-89684-2 and 0-201-89685-0.

Students are expected to buy and make extensive use of one of the above references: those not doing so will be severely disadvantaged. The easiest and recommended choice is Cormen et al. which covers all the topics in the syllabus: the pointers in the syllabus are to chapters in that book. The other textbooks are all excellent alternatives and are sometimes clearer or more detailed than Cormen, but they are not guaranteed to cover every item in the syllabus. Their relative merits are discussed in the course handout.

next up previous contents
Next: Digital Electronics Up: Michaelmas Term 2006: Part Previous: Computer Design   Contents
Christine Northeast
Tue Sep 12 09:56:33 BST 2006