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Unit information: Advanced Algorithms in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Advanced Algorithms
Unit code COMS31900
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Clifford
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit gives an overview of recent advances in the design of algorithms and data structures. These fall into three broad categories.

First we will cover algorithms and data structures for fundamental problems surrounding storing, recovering and searching within data. For these problems we will see that nearly-optimal solutions are possible. Second are optimisation problems where sometimes only exponential-time algorithms are known. We will discuss when these problems admit exact efficient solutions, and when only approximation is possible. Third we will we will cover some emerging new areas in the field of algorithm design which address fundamental changes in the way that data is being processed on a large scale.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit the student will:

  • Have a solid understanding of the most important recent advances in algorithms and data structures.
  • Be able to apply sophisticated analysis techniques to measure the time and space complexity of algorithms and also prove their correctness.
  • Understand a variety of data structures and their applications.
  • Understand standard approaches to approximating the answer to (NP-complete) problems where finding the exact answer is infeasible.

Teaching details

20 hours of lectures, a further 80 hours are nominally set aside for private study, etc. The course will run a drop-in session for 1hour/week.

Assessment Details

100% final examination

Reading and References

Introduction to Algorithms – Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, Stein