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Unit outline_

COMP9123: Data Structures and Algorithms

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal evening] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit will teach some powerful ideas that are central to solving algorithmic problems in ways that are more efficient than naive approaches. In particular, students will learn how data collections can support efficient access, for example, how a dictionary or map can allow key-based lookup that does not slow down linearly as the collection grows in size. The data structures covered in this unit include lists, stacks, queues, priority queues, search trees, hash tables, and graphs. Students will also learn efficient techniques for classic tasks such as sorting a collection. The concept of asymptotic notation will be introduced, and used to describe the costs of various data access operations and algorithms.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Computer Science
Credit points 6
Prerequisites
? 
None
Corequisites
? 
None
Prohibitions
? 
INFO1105 OR INFO1905 OR COMP2123 OR COMP2823
Assumed knowledge
? 

None

Available to study abroad and exchange students

Yes

Teaching staff

Coordinator Wei Li, weiwilson.li@sydney.edu.au
Lecturer(s) Wei Li, weiwilson.li@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
? 
hurdle task
Final exam
2-hour written exam.
70% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Online task Quiz
Weekly quiz covering the previous lecture's material (open book, timed).
5% Multiple weeks 25mn, 10 questions
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5
Assignment Assignment 1
Take-home problem sets and programming assignments, roughly biweekly.
5% Week 05
Due date: 24 Mar 2023 at 23:59
10 working days
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Assignment Assignment 2
Take-home problem sets and programming assignments, roughly biweekly.
5% Week 07
Due date: 07 Apr 2023 at 23:59
10 working days.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Assignment Assignment 3
Take-home problem sets and programming assignments, roughly biweekly.
5% Week 09
Due date: 28 Apr 2023 at 23:59
10 working days.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Assignment Assignment 4
Take-home problem sets and programming assignments, roughly biweekly.
5% Week 11
Due date: 12 May 2023 at 23:59
10 working days.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Assignment Assignment 5
Take-home problem sets and programming assignments, roughly biweekly.
5% Week 13
Due date: 26 May 2023 at 23:59
10 working days.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

  • Assignments: There will be five assignments in total. These assignments will focus on the design and analysis of algorithms.
  • Quizzes: There will be 10 weekly multiple-choice quizzes in total. 
  • Final exam: Final written examination.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas/Ed.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range

Description

High distinction

85 - 100

 

Distinction

75 - 84

 

Credit

65 - 74

 

Pass

50 - 64

 

Fail

0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

It is a policy of the School of Computer Science that in order to pass this unit, a student must achieve at least 40% in the written examination. For subjects without a final exam, the 40% minimum requirement applies to the corresponding major assessment component specified by the lecturer. A student must also achieve an overall final mark of 50 or more. Any student not meeting these requirements may be given a maximum final mark of no more than 45 regardless of their average.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

These penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date. Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date, up to (and including) the 4th day, and a mark of 0 after that.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Administrivia; 2. Definitions and precision regarding scalability and analysis of algorithms Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO5 LO8
Week 02 1. Abstract data structures 2. Stacks and queues Lecture (2 hr) LO5 LO6 LO8
1. Abstract data structures 2. Stacks and queues Workshop (2 hr) LO5 LO6 LO8
Week 03 1. Tree concepts and definitions; 2. Recursion on a tree; 3. Binary tree implementation, general tree implementation Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
1. Tree concepts and definitions; 2. Recursion on a tree; 3. Binary tree implementation, general tree implementation Workshop (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 04 1. Binary search trees; 2. Balanced binary search tree (AVL tree) Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
1. Binary search trees; 2. Balanced binary search tree (AVL tree) Workshop (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 05 1. Simple map implementation by list (sorted and unsorted); 2. Priority queues, heap-as-a-tree and heap-in-array, sorting using priority queue Lecture (2 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
1. Simple map implementation by list (sorted and unsorted); 2. Priority queues, heap-as-a-tree and heap-in-array, sorting using priority queue Workshop (2 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 06 Hashing Lecture (2 hr) LO5 LO6 LO8
Hashing Workshop (2 hr) LO5 LO6 LO8
Week 07 1. Graph representations; 2. Graph traversals Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO7 LO8
1. Graph representations; 2. Graph traversals Workshop (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO7 LO8
Week 08 1. Shortest path algorithm; 2. Minimum weight spanning tree algorithms Lecture (2 hr) LO5 LO7 LO8
1. Shortest path algorithm; 2. Minimum weight spanning tree algorithms Workshop (2 hr) LO5 LO7 LO8
Week 09 Greedy method Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8
Greedy method Workshop (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8
Week 10 Divide-and-conquer Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8
Divide-and-conquer Workshop (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8
Week 11 Divide-and-conquer Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8
Divide-and-conquer Workshop (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8
Week 12 Randomized algorithms Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8
Randomized algorithms Workshop (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8
Week 13 Review of Unit of Study and exam preparation Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Recommended reading:

Title: Algorithm Design and Applications
Author/s: Michael Goodrich; Roberto Tamassia
ISBN: 978-1-118-33591-8
Publisher: Wiley
Publish Year: 2015

Title: Algorithms
Author: Jeff Erickson
Available at https://jeffe.cs.illinois.edu/teaching/algorithms/

 

To go further:

Title: Algorithms Illuminated (4 volumes)
Author: Tim Roughgarden
ISBN: 978-0999282908
Website: https://www.algorithmsilluminated.org/

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate proficiency in organising, presenting and discussing professional ideas and issues in oral, written and graphic formats. Thorough descriptive reporting. With thorough consideration of format and audience requirements. Fluent presentation of engineering/IT concepts and issues to professional and non-professional audiences, using a varied range of professional communication tools and formats
  • LO2. design an algorithmic solution to a problem, coding it, analysing its complexity, and evaluating its suitability to a context
  • LO3. write code that recursively performs an operation on a data structure
  • LO4. apply basic algorithmic techniques (e.g. divide-and-conquer, greedy) to given design tasks
  • LO5. use notation of big-Oh to represent asymptotic growth of cost functions
  • LO6. understand commonly used data structures, e.g., lists, stacks, queues, priority queues, search trees, hash tables, and graphs. This covers the way information is represented in each structure, algorithms for manipulating the structure, and analysis of asymptotic complexity of the operations
  • LO7. understand basic algorithms related to data structures, such as algorithms for sorting, tree traversals, and graph traversals
  • LO8. use mathematical methods to evaluate the performance of an algorithm.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

- streamline tutorial questions - added a resource (additional material)

IMPORTANT: School policy relating to Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism.

In assessing a piece of submitted work, the School of Computer Science may reproduce it entirely, may provide a copy to another member of faculty, and/or to an external plagiarism checking service or in-house computer program and may also maintain a copy of the assignment for future checking purposes and/or allow an external service to do so.

Computer programming assignments may be checked by specialist code similarity detection software. The Faculty of Engineering currently uses the MOSS similarity detection engine (see http://theory.stanford.edu/~aiken/moss/), or the similarity report available in ED (edstem.org). These
programs work in a similar way to TurnItIn in that they check for similarity against a database of previously submitted assignments and code available on the internet, but they have added functionality to detect cases of similarity of holistic code structure in cases such as global search and replace of variable names, reordering of lines, changing of comment lines, and the use of white space.

All written assignments submitted in this unit of study will be submitted to the similarity detecting software program known as Turnitin. Turnitin searches for matches between text in your written assessment task and text sourced from the Internet, published works and assignments that have previously been submitted to Turnitin for analysis. There will always be some degree of text-matching when using Turnitin. Text-matching may occur in use of direct quotations, technical terms and phrases, or the listing of bibliographic material. This does not mean you will automatically be accused of academic dishonesty or plagiarism, although Turnitin reports may be used as evidence in academic dishonesty and plagiarism decision-making processes.

Disclaimer

The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.