Introduction to Algorithms and Complexity

Computer Science department

Majid Sarrafzadeh

Introduction to Algorithms and Complexity

Computer Science department

Majid Sarrafzadeh

Add Review
from 12 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 3.9
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 1.9
Easy
Heavy
Workload 2.2
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 3.9
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.5
Helpful
AD

Tags

  • Needs Textbook
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Often Funny
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Would Take Again

Grades

Fall 2016
29.4%
24.5%
19.6%
14.7%
9.8%
4.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2016
28.7%
24.0%
19.2%
14.4%
9.6%
4.8%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2014
26.4%
22.0%
17.6%
13.2%
8.8%
4.4%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2013
28.7%
23.9%
19.1%
14.3%
9.6%
4.8%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Summer 2013
34.1%
28.4%
22.7%
17.0%
11.4%
5.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2012
33.0%
27.5%
22.0%
16.5%
11.0%
5.5%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2006
32.9%
27.4%
21.9%
16.5%
11.0%
5.5%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

AD
AD
1 of 1

Reviews

Quarter Taken: Fall 2016 Submitted Dec. 16, 2016 Grade Received: A

If you can take 180 with him, take it with him.
- Never be late on HW submissions
- Prepare 1-2 days in advance for tests
- Get the class notes even if you don't attend

I actually liked and enjoyed his teaching method but some others found him slow. He does elaborate on each topic so whatever he covers he teaches well.

Strongly recommended

Quarter Taken: Fall 2016 Submitted Dec. 15, 2016 Grade Received: A

I never attended class and used the textbook for everything and got an A. However, I also got some notes from friends and on each test there were a couple questions from the lectures verbatim. So either attend lecture or have a friend give you the notes and you should do well. Tests were also super easy.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted Aug. 4, 2016 Grade Received: A

Majid is the best instructor for a CS class since Smallberg and Nachenberg.

Majid gives very clear and concise lectures. He stresses on ways of thinking instead of individual algorithms, which is very helpful for CS majors. For me, when I see leetcode questions, I will try to think systematically before writing down any code. For example, what type of question is this? How do I approach it using blablabla method?

Majid is very funny during his lectures. He encourages students to answer questions and often jokes about "Are you willing to bet your grade on that?" When he talks about important concepts, he will say something like, "If you tell your boss that you don't understand this, you get fired." It's an 8 am class, but I can hardly fall asleep because the lecture is so funny and engaging.

Majid doesn't write often on the board, so you have to write down what he says quickly. The textbook is very dry and a little bit hard to understand, but he gives us very clear lectures so we don't usually need to read the textbook to understand materials.

Homework is very long and hard, but they really help you practice that way of thinking. Thinking through those questions will not only help you with your exams, but also with your interviews. Do not look at "solutions" before you really think hard about those problems!

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted March 17, 2016 Grade Received: A

I really his style of teaching. Professor Sarrafzadeh talks about major ideas in class and you need to fill in the details on your self. He really makes sure you understand not only the specific algorithms but also the ideas behind them.
His exams are really straightforward, even simple sometimes. But the grading is indeed harsh, so make sure to know all the details as well.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted June 24, 2011 Grade Received: N/A

Highly recommend him for 180. And this is one of the CS classes that will actually matter when you go to interviews or go into the real world. It's pretty useful and very interesting.

He gives a lot of helpful examples during lecture and explains them pretty well. However, he doesn't write on the board as often as he should, so pay attention and listen carefully. You MUST go to lecture because he will often give away at least one answer or hint to the exam.

There are weekly homework assignments from the book. They are usually very difficult and very time consuming (although not as time consuming as typical coding project since you are only assigned a few problems). The graders during my quarter were also very tough, at least in the beginning, but the professor seemed to imply that this is not usually the case. Do not copy answers from the "unofficial" PDF solutions manual that some students have. You will get caught. And the answers aren't always right or clearly written anyway. It will do you a great amount of good to try to do the answers yourself or with a group. Having friends in this class is probably crucial because it helps to brainstorm ideas while answering homework or explaining concepts and algorithms when studying. I think this is a big reason why I did well in the class.

Exams are not too difficult as long as you review all of the major topics covered in class. Make sure you know how the major algorithms work and their time complexities. A good way to do this is take notes while reading the book. The book is very crucial in this class and is actually very helpful. He also draws many of his questions from previous exams, so if you can get your hands on those, you'll be good. Thankfully, the graders are pretty lenient on exams (i.e. you don't have to prove everything super thoroughly etc.)

The biggest problem with this class for me was the TA, Sanjam. However, it is likely that you won't have him as your TA since it was his first time TA-ing the class and pretty much everyone disliked him. He was extremely unhelpful and inefficient in passing back homework. I could go on a completely different rant about him, but I won't because this is an evaluation for Sarrafzadeh. Just be careful if you get Sanjam as your TA. Don't even bother going to discussion.

All in all, I felt like this class was very useful and interesting. Sarrafzadeh is also a fair examiner and a rather engaging lecturer (although I can't say I didn't fall asleep in class). As someone else said, he's very nice about questions and doesn't mind re-explaining concepts. Take him for CS 180!

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Dec. 18, 2008 Grade Received: N/A

Sarrafzadeh is, without a doubt, one of the best CS professors I have ever had. For CS 180, he always keeps his lectures short (one and a half hours max) and he makes a lot of jokes during class. His explanations are clear and concise, and he has always seemed very willing to go over a concept more than once if students are still confused. Be sure to attend class because exams are based primarily off lecture material (also, in both my midterm and final, he used one of the problems/applications from class as an exam question, so pay attention!). It helps that his lectures are very engaging and genuinely interesting. That said, you will have to rely on yourself to do well in this class - do all the homeworks by yourself and be sure you understand exactly how each algorithm works. It may be a lot of work but it will be worth it in the end. The TA's for the class are usually extremely helpful as well, so it doesn't hurt to attend discussion. The only bad thing I can think of is that he's usually busy during his scheduled office hours.

1 of 1

Tags

  • Needs Textbook
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Often Funny
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Would Take Again
ADS

Report Review

Did this review contain...

There are errors in the report form.

Thank you for the report!

We'll look into this shortly.