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Course information

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Calendar

Lectures and recitations

Problem sets

Quizzes

Past Quizzes

Resources

Previous terms

Meeting locations and times

Lectures will be held on **Tuesdays and Thursdays** from
**11:00 AM to 12:00 PM** in **54-100**.
You are responsible for material presented in lectures, including oral
comments made by the lecturer (or other information that may not be
present in the slides), as well as in recitations:

- WF10 – Ying Yin – 34-301
- WF11 – Kevin Kelley – 36-144
- WF11 – Ying Yin – 34-302
- WF12 – Yafim Landa – 34-302
- WF12 – Sarah Eisenstat – 36-144
- WF1 – Sarah Eisenstat – 26-142
- WF2 – Victor Costan – 26-142
- WF3 – Victor Costan – 34-302

TAs have weekly scheduled office hours as follows:

- M3 – Victor Costan – 32-G531
- T4 – Ying Yin – 32-261
- W12 – Kevin Kelley – G6 lounge
- R5 – Yafim Landa – G7 lounge
- F4 – Sarah Eisenstat – G5 lounge

Prerequisites and credit

A firm grasp of Python and a solid background in discrete
mathematics are necessary prerequisites to this course. You are
expected to have mastered the material presented in 6.01
(*Introduction to EECS I*) and 6.042J/18.062J (*Mathematics
for Computer Science*).

If you have not taken and been successful in each of these subjects, please speak with a TA or professor before enrolling. We do allow students who have equivalent, other experience with the material described above to enroll, but with the firm understanding that mastery of this material is assumed and that course staff will not feel obligated to cover it or to help students who are struggling with it.

6.006 is a 12-unit (4-0-8) subject and serves as a Foundational
Computer Science subject under the new curriculum. It is a direct
prerequisite for 6.046 (*Design and Analysis of Algorithms*),
the theory header.

Recitations

One-hour recitations are held on Wednesdays and Fridays. You are
responsible for the material presented in recitation, **which
may include new material not presented in lectures**.
Recitation attendance has been well-correlated with quiz performance
in past semesters. Recitations also give you a more intimate
opportunity to ask questions of and to interact with the course staff.
Your recitation instructor is responsible for determining your final
grade.

Unlike past terms, we **will use** the recitation assignments made by
the scheduling office this term.

Problem sets

We will assign eight problem sets during the course of the semester. For dates, check the course calendar. Each problem set will consist of a programming assignment, to be completed in Python, and a theory assignment. With the exception of the first problem set, we will have you use a website called Gradetacular that we created for you to retrieve and submit your problem sets. We will expect you to upload your code and to enter your theory assignment solutions into Gradetacular.

If you collaborate with others in any fashion, you must list their names as collaborators. For details, please see the section on our collaboration policy; we take this very seriously.

Late assignments will be severely penalized. (This penalty is
currently a 1% deduction every six minutes or part thereof until the
end of the tenth hour after the deadline, after which submissions will
receive no credit.) To avoid penalties, contact us **in
advance** to make arrangements. Otherwise, we will require a
note from the appropriate dean advising us of your situation.

Quizzes

We will give two evening quizzes during the semester; these will each be two hours in duration. Check the course calendar for dates. Each will begin at 7:30 PM; room assignments will be announced in advance. There will also be a final exam during finals week.

Grading policy

Your final grade will be determined by the grades you receive on problem sets, on quizzes, and on the final. The problem sets will together be worth approximately 30% of your grade; the quizzes, 20% each; and the final, 30%. The particulars of this policy are subject to the discretion of the course staff.

Coding Assignments

The code that you hand in will be graded based on its correctness, its quality, and the details of the algorithm that it implements.

**Correctness** — We will provide a set of
public unit tests with each problem to help you test your work.
However, when grading, we will use additional unit tests that will not
be available to you; we reserve the right to test any behavior specified
by or following from the problem statement. Submissions that run for
excessive amounts of time may be scored as incorrect.

**Theory** — Code should represent an
implementation of an appropriately designed algorithm. While we do
not necessarily expect you to achieve any lower bounds that may exist
for a particular problem, submissions should not be overly inefficient
in either time or space.

Copying another student's code is considered cheating. We may use both manual and automated methods to detect cheating.

Written Assignments

We expect you to enter proofs using LaTeX math mode directly into Gradetacular. We have a two-step process for grading proofs. First, you'll enter your proof into Gradetacular before the time that the problem set is due. We will provide the solutions 10 hours after the problem set is due, which you will use to find any errors in the proof that you submitted. Your critique will usually be due by the following lecture. Your grade will be based on your solution and your critique.

The same late policy applies to the grading part of the assignment (1% off every six minutes that the problem set is late). Please note that if you require an extension, we will need to know in advance and you must have a good reason for needing it. In addition, we trust that you will not look at the posted solutions when completing the problem set under an extension. Looking at the solutions under these conditions constitutes a breach of the honor code, and is a serious offense.

The best responses will be **concise, correct, and
complete**. Failing to answer part of the question, being
overly verbose, missing special or edge cases, and answering
mistakenly will each reduce your score.

When you are called upon to "give an algorithm," you must provide (1) a textual description of the algorithm, and, if helpful, pseudocode; (2) at least one worked example or diagram to illustrate how your algorithm works; (3) a proof (or other indication) of the correctness of the algorithm; and (4) an analysis of the time complexity (and, if relevant, the space complexity) of the algorithm.

**Remember that, above all else, your goal is to
communicate.** After all, if a grader cannot understand your
solution, they cannot give you any credit for it.

Collaboration policy

The goal of homework is to give you practice in mastering the course material. Consequently, you are encouraged to collaborate on problem sets. In fact, students who form study groups generally do better on exams than do students who work alone. If you do work in a study group, however, you owe it to yourself and your group to be prepared for your study group meeting. Specifically, you should spend at least 30-45 minutes trying to solve each problem beforehand. If your group is unable to solve a problem, try asking questions via Piazza so that other groups and the course staff can be helpful.

**You must write up each problem solution by yourself without
assistance**, even if you collaborate with others to solve the
problem. You are asked on problem sets to identify your
collaborators. If you did not work with anyone, you should write
that you did not have collaborators. If you obtain a solution through research
(e.g., on the web), acknowledge your source, but write up the solution
in your own words. **It is a violation of this policy to submit
a problem solution that you cannot orally explain to a member of the
course staff.**

**Code you submit must also be written by yourself.**
You may receive help from your classmates during debugging. Don't
spend hours trying to debug a problem in your code before asking for
help. However, regardless of who is helping you, only you are allowed
to make changes to your code. **Both manual and automatic
mechanisms will be employed to detect plagiarism in code.**

No other 6.006 student may use your solutions; this includes your
writing, code, tests, documentation, etc. **It is a violation
of the 6.006 collaboration policy to permit anyone other than 6.006
staff and yourself to see your solutions to either theory or code
questions.**

Plagiarism and other anti-intellectual behavior cannot be tolerated in any academic environment that prides itself on individual accomplishment. If you have any questions about the collaboration policy, or if you feel that you may have violated the policy, please talk to one of the course staff. Although the course staff is obligated to deal with cheating appropriately, we often have the ability to be more understanding and lenient if we find out from the transgressor himself or herself rather than from a third party.

Textbooks

The required textbook for the course is *Introduction to
Algorithms* (3rd Ed.) by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein (Amazon).
It is available wherever fine academic texts are sold.

For the
student who finds books helpful, we also suggest *Problem Solving
With Algorithms and Data Structures Using Python* by Miller and
Ranum (Amazon).