Communication Policy

This is a large course, and there are several ways to get in touch with the course staff depending on your need.

  • For basic syllabus information, policies, schedule, etc., please see the course website.
  • For resources such as lecture notes, recordings, readings, etc., please see Sakai.
  • For regular questions about course content, please attend helper hours or use Ed Discussion. The Ed discussion tool is linked/integrated on Sakai. Please post publicly (you can choose to remain anonymous to your peers) so that others may benefit from your question, but do not directly share your solutions to assignments (that is, ensure you satisfy the collaboration policy below).
  • For personal questions about the course (grades, student accommodations, emergencies, etc.) you should email the instructors at Please do not use email for anything other than these sensitive topics that should not be handled through the other means above.

Collaboration Policy

Collaboration is an encouraged part of the course, but only within boundaries that will ensure your learning and maintain academic integrity. In particular:

Homework assignments can be completed in groups of size 2 (that is, you can work with a partner). This is voluntary – you can work by yourself if you choose, and you can work with whomever you like. You can switch partners between assignments, but once you begin working with a partner for a particular assignment you may not change for that same assignment.

Apart from your homework partner or case study group, you may discuss ideas and study with other students in small groups of up to 5. You may not, however, write or share solutions. As a rule of thumb, if you find yourselves sharing written text, taking pictures of solutions on boards, or looking over someone’s shoulder at a laptop, you have moved beyond the bounds of acceptable collaboration across groups. The same goes for the internet – you are welcome to use it as a resource, but you may not search for or use solutions from the internet.

Generative AI and Large Language Models

Appropriate uses of LLMs (such as ChatGPT) include editing, requesting examples, and asking questions to aid your understanding. Inappropriate uses of LLMs include asking to solve problems and presenting the solutions (with or without your editing) as your own work. Any time you use an LLM, you should attribute and describe how you used it.

Lecture Attendance Policy

We will typically have one or more in-class exercises that are graded for completion, not for correctness. You must be in-class to complete these exercises. You can miss up to 6 lectures (and the corresponding exercises) without any penalty to your grade (that is, we drop 6 lectures worth from the grade). These 6 drops cover all absences, excused and unexcused. We do not track excuses for lecture.

Recitation Attendance Policy

In-person attendance and active participation in your recitation section is required. You can miss up to 3 recitations without any penalty from your grade (that is, we drop 3 recitation grades). These 3 drops cover all absences, excused and unexcused. We do not track excuses for recitation, and your recitation facilitators cannot provide excuses.

Most of the time, you must attend the recitation section to which you are assigned. However, if you have one or two times during the semester when you have a conflict, you must inform both sets of TAs in advance and they will be able to transfer your attendance credit.

Homework Policy

There will be ten homework assignments. Of the ten units in total, the best eight units will be considered for the final grade. These two drops are intended to cover illness, emergencies, or any other personal circumstances that may prevent you from being able to complete homework assignments.

  • If you work with a partner then you should submit one document on Gradescope and use the group submission feature. Do not submit separate submissions of the same work or it may be flagged as plagiarism. For the sake of your learning, we encourage you to consider working fully collaboratively and ensure that you individually understand all parts of every problem, rather than splitting up the problems. The latter approach will reduce your opportunities to practice and learn and may result in your not being fully prepared for exams.
  • You must type all solutions – we will not accept handwritten solutions. Grades will be deducted for formatting that makes it difficult to read your submissions.
  • You will submit on Gradescope, which will also be linked/integrated into Sakai. Submissions submitted between 12:00 am and 1:59 am to Gradescope will be penalized with a 10% deduction of the final grade of that assignment. This means that it is in your best interest to submit sufficiently early so that there is no possibility of the Gradescope server receiving it after 11:59 pm.

Case Study

There will be one case study, a collaborative project involving open-ended algorithm modeling, design, implementation, and experimentation on real-world data. Groups can be of up to 4 students chosen from within your recitation sections.


All exams will be written and in-person. They are closed book and closed note. You may not use any electronic devices of any kind, nor may you communicate with other students in any way about the exams.

25% of your course grade comes from Exams Part 1, and another 25% comes from Exams Part 2, covering the first and second half of the course material respectively.

There are two exams scheduled during the semester: A midterm exam (MID) and a lateterm exam (LATE), plus a final exam (FINAL) during the registrar scheduled final exam period. The final exam will be in two parts (FINAL-1 and FINAL-2) corresponding to the MID and LATE exams respectively. Your exams grades will be calculated as:

  • Exams Part 1 = better of MID and FINAL-1
  • Exams Part 2 = better of LATE and FINAL-2

The final exam thus serves as the makeup (without penalty) if you need to miss an exam during the term for any reason, as well as an opportunity to improve your score if you are unhappy with your scores prior. The final exam cannot hurt your exams score."

Grading Policy

The course will us relative grading and the final letter grades will depend on overall class performance. But, in choosing the final cutoffs, the following absolute course grade minimums will be ensured (that is, we may lower the cutoffs, but they will not be raised from this).

60% and higher: D- or higher

70% and higher: C- or higher

80% and higher: B- or higher

90% and higher: A- or higher