Introduction to Algorithms and Complexity

Raghu Meka

Introduction to Algorithms and Complexity

Computer Science department

Raghu Meka

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from 23 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 3.5
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 2.3
Easy
Heavy
Workload 2.6
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 3.5
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.9
Helpful
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Tags

  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Uses Slides

Textbooks

Algorithm Design
Kleinberg
ISBN: 9780321295354
View on Amazon
Bruinwalk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Grades

Winter 2017
12.8%
10.6%
8.5%
6.4%
4.3%
2.1%
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.

Spring 2015
14.0%
11.6%
9.3%
7.0%
4.7%
2.3%
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.

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Reviews

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 23, 2018 Grade Received: N/A

Although he has an accent, he is very very clear and understandable. In addition, his lecture notes are very helpful and clear so I understand most of the proofs. Of course I probably couldn't create the proof out of thin air but at the least I understand what he's doing. His tests are easy which means it is a good thing (easy) and bad thing (high averages). So if you understand the fundamentals of this class, you should do well on the exams. This is my favorite class in CS so far.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 22, 2018 Grade Received: A+

Like many of the other recent reviewers, I did not attend any of the lectures past week 2. He speaks quite slowly in real-time but at 1.5 speed, the lecture is the perfect pace. So it is truly a shame that he will likely stop BruinCasting his lectures.

There were 10 quizzes which counted for 1 percent of the final grade each. The quizzes varied in difficulty with some being pretty easy points, and others being difficult enough to require some random guesses. Each person has the exact same quiz questions though, so if you are taking the class with a friend you can plan accordingly.

The 6 homework assignments counted for 18 percent of the final grade. They also varied in difficulty, and got significantly harder as the quarter went on. However, if you gave an honest effort you will get most of the points for the question. And if you are willing to go to the professor's office hours, he is very helpful and willing to give hints. Even if you can't make it to office hours he is very responsive on piazza. Plus a decent amount of the answers are on the Internet if you truly get stuck.

There were 3 tests which were noncumulative. The first midterm was a piece of cake. Many of the questions were straight out of the past quarter's tests. The second midterm and final were much harder and used fewer questions from past quarter tests. However, I would still recommend reviewing the previous quarter's questions and really understanding the homework solutions he gives.

Overall, not a bad class. He is a good professor who tries his best to make sure he is giving material at a reasonable pace and with good clarity.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 19, 2018 Grade Received: A

Get ready to write rigorous proofs. Curve as follows: ~ 10%A+,10%A, 10%A-, 10%B+, .... 10%C, 10-20%C- and below.

Lectures podcasted, but he said he didn't like how it caused a drop in attendance so he ain't doing it in the future. Good thing I took it when he did because the lectures are so slow, I ended up never showing up again after the 2nd week and playing them back at 2x speed instead.
Great lectures if on 2x speed though, really engaging, interesting, and informative.

If you are a math major btw , and have taken 131a and 115a and have done well in those 2 classes, the proofs in this class will just come naturally. They are very ez compared to the stuff in those 2.

QUIZZES: 10 quizzes 1 per week, each worth 1% of grade. These sucked (they were NOT free points), stressed me tf out, but made me learn the material in a decent pace instead of putting everything off till the night before the exam like I do for literally every other class.

HW: Yeah he writes his own problems. Some were actually pretty darn hard, most of the time they were ok though. 6x 3% each.

EXAMS: We had 3 noncumulative exams, the third being our final. 1st one worth 22% of our grade, 2nd and 3rd both worth 25. The first test was a joke, so he made the next two considerably harder. Partial credit is very generous, although you need to realize this doesn't mean anything since the class is curved strictly anyways. Tests consist of multiple short answer questions, and then 4 algorithm design questions. First part similar to quizzes, 2nd part similar to homeworks. Since I did every hw legit instead of copying off chegg/google I actually did really well on the exams just off of that with very minimal extra studying besides reviewing quiz answers I got wrong.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 18, 2018 Grade Received: C+

While the professor was very active on Piazza, which was nice, I don't really feel like this is a class worth taking if you want to actually learn something, as we covered less material than other CS 180 classes have. The professor pretty much just regurgitates chunks of the textbook but in a confusing way. The quizzes were quite annoying; each timed quiz was worth 1% of your grade and there were 10 total, so forget a quiz or mess up on one and you'll be saying goodbye to those points (I said goodbye to quite a lot of those quiz points). I found that the exam structure was also a bit unforgiving; I was really sick during the time of the second exam and ended up doing extremely badly on it, which ultimately ended with me earning my first C.

The biggest problem with this class, though, was the cheating. The high homework and quiz scores were not due to the fact that the students were especially smart, but due to the fact that the students were especially inclined towards cheating. I saw and heard people pass around homework answers; I was even offered some at some point when I asked for help. To prevent cheating, at least a little bit, the professor should use different homework problems each time he teaches the class or something so that people can't just look up the solutions on Chegg.

Overall, I wish I had taken this class with a different professor, because I don't think I learned much at all, and all that this class left me with was a bitter taste in my mouth. To put things in perspective, I would rather take EE M16 with Mehta again than this class.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 16, 2018 Grade Received: B

although pretty willing to receive feedback, i found his teaching style incompatible with me. i really felt like i wasted my time in this class. i dont know why we spent so much time on basic things like divide and conquer, bfs/dfs, etc. i felt like there was so little depth to the class and the proofs were extremely bullshitty. he did randomized algorithms instead of network algs my quarter, which i thought was kinda cool tho.
oh, his handwriting is not good. also his sense of organization for his handwritten notes is straight trash. i literally cannot understand what the guy is trying to convey. also, lecture is extremely slow and boring. although it was bruincasted this quarter, i think he said he won't be bruincasting it in the future :(
overall, i thought this class was a waste of time because i didnt really learn anything except some vague stuff on NP and randomized algorithms. everything else i already learned from leetcode.
oh, but yeh the tests are noncumulative and he answers all questions on piazza + lecture (literally every single one) which is really helpful imo.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 9, 2018 Grade Received: NR

Professor Meka was an excellent professor. In this quarter we had BruinCast, as another reviewer mentioned, but Professor Meka noted that he didn't like the drop in attendance so if you take the class with him I wouldn't count on it being BruinCasted in the future.

Even without BruinCast though, I highly, highly recommend Professor Meka for teaching CS 180. He was extremely clear, very good at teaching the material, and always stopped to answer questions. Additionally, the homework he gave was suitably challenging in relation to the tests, so that if you did the homework and the additional practice he gave you, along with reviewing quizzes and your notes, you can get above average on the tests.

However, note that the course gets considerably more difficult as the quarter goes on (it still isn't bad by any means, it's just that up to the first mid-term is actually quite easy). Make sure to more closely go over notes, quizzes, and do extra practice problems for the last two-thirds of the course.

Also, the average on the first midterm was slightly above a 90%, while the second midterm average was around a low 80-high 70s average. I suspect the final will have a similar distribution as the second midterm. He gives 30% As, 30% Bs, 35% Cs and 5% Ds and Fs. Fairly standard distribution, just try to beat the curve.

Mid-terms are also non-cumulative, which is really nice for a CS course. I highly recommend Professor Meka to anyone who wants to take him for CS 180.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 7, 2018 Grade Received: N/A

Meka's class is much easier than the other options for CS180. He writes out the content of the lecture by hand but on an Ipad that he projects. He draws pictures and even uses colors!! It's very awesome for people who learn better with pictures :) Also all of his lectures are recorded and available on CCLE so you can rewatch the videos to prepare for the weekly quizzes/hw/exams.

His HW is pretty easy as long as you understand the lectures. If you understand the lectures, you will do well on the tests - you don't really need to think outside of the box. Downside is the class averages on the tests are like 89% and he gives 30% As, 30% Bs, etc.

This class reminds me of a high school class, where you could kind of just memorize what you learned in class and get 100% on the test from that alone. The good ol days ...

Quarter Taken: Winter 2017 Submitted July 9, 2017 Grade Received: A+

Meka went through most of the topics on his iPad and Apple Pencil, which basically is an advanced white board. He will post the transcripts immediately after the class. In general the course is very well organized. There are 3 exams (including the final), which are all roughly equally weighted and are not accumulative. Really necessary to point out that a lot of the comments on Bruinwalks are not fair at all. He is a great professor if you want to take 180 with him.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2017 Submitted March 26, 2017 Grade Received: A-

Meka has made the course workload and exam difficulty very reasonable since he last taught it in 2015. Textbook is not needed, just focus on lecture slides which are posted online, and homework sets. Sometimes in lectures Professor Meka goes over complex proofs (such as runtime of Quicksort/Quickselect) but he generally does not give exam questions on these.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2015 Submitted March 29, 2016 Grade Received: A

The lectures were clear. The algorithms and proofs he presented in class all seemed to make sense. The homeworks were extensions of these algorithms and proofs. Sometimes the extension was a little too far, which made the homeworks pretty difficult and time-intensive. You learn what he expects after the first assignment's solutions are posted. I think a lot of people aren't used to the rigorous proofs he expects, which made them unhappy with the course. I would agree that I would've rather written some code for these algorithms instead of worrying about the proofs so much.

The exams were easier than the homeworks (as you would expect, since the homeworks took so long). If you understand what you did on the homeworks or at least why the solutions posted are correct, the exams should be pretty straightforward and you should get a pretty good grade.

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Tags

  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Uses Slides

Textbooks

Algorithm Design
Kleinberg
ISBN: 9780321295354
View on Amazon
ADS
Bruinwalk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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