COSC262-17S1 (C) Semester One 2017


15 points
20 Feb 2017 - 25 Jun 2017


This course teaches a range of fundamental algorithms and analyses their complexity.

Algorithms are fundamental to all branches of computer science. They play a key role in the development of efficient computer programs. This course aims to provide a good understanding of fundamental data structures and algorithm design methods used for solving a wide range of problems. The course is organized into two parts, each containing six lecture weeks.

The topics covered include:
Part One
- Introduction to algorithmic thinking and design
- Analysis of algorithms (proof techniques, asymptotic notation)
- Divide & conquer: design techniques and solving recurrences
- Backtracking: Combinatorial search and generation
- Graphs: Minimum spanning trees, single-source and all-pair shortest paths, Maximum flow
- Algorithms for linear time sorting and order statistics
- Advanced data structures: Red-black trees
- Computability: reductions, complexity classes, approximation algorithms

Part Two
- Computational Geometry:  Convex Hulls (Properties, Gift-wrap algorithm, Graham-scan algorithm),  Plane-sweep algorithms (Maximal set, closest pair, line intersections), Range search methods (kD trees, Quadtrees),  Polygon triangulation (Ear-clipping algorithm, k-colourable graphs)
- Pattern Matching:  Knuth-Morris-Pratt Algorithm,  Boyer-Moore Algorithm
- Optimization Problems:  Greedy algorithm (Interval scheduling, Fractional knapsack, Huffman codes), Dynamic programming (Bottom-up enumeration, Principle of optimality, Longest common subsequence, 0/1 Knapsack, Matrix chain product,  multi-stage graphs)

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Estimate and analyse the complexity of algorithms
  • Implement algorithm design techniques for solving computational problems
  • Develop algorithms for solving geometrical problems
  • Outline key concepts in pattern matching algorithms
  • Understand and describe the behaviour of algorithms
  • Evaluate the correctness of algorithms
  • Describe and analyse design strategies for solving optimization problems


(1) COSC121; (2) COSC122; RP: MATH120


COSC202, COSC229, COSC329

Recommended Preparation

Timetable Note

Depending on final student numbers, some of the advertised lab/tutorial streams may not run. Final lab/tutorial options will be available for self-allocation closer to the start of the semester through My Timetable.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer



Kourosh Neshatian


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Part One Weekly Online Quizzes 10% Weekly quizzes totalling 10% of the course.
Part One Assignment 10%
Part One Test 15%
Part Two Weekly Online Quizzes 5%
Part Two Assignment 20%
Final Exam 40%

No assignments will be accepted after the drop-dead date. The penalty for the late submission of an assignment will be an absolute deduction of 15% of the maximum possible mark.


Recommended Reading:
• Steven S. Skiena, The Algorithm Design Manual, Springer, 2nd Ed., 2008.
• Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein, Introduction to Algorithms, 3rd Ed., The MIT Press, 2009
• Goodrich and Tamassia, Data Structures and Algorithms in Python, John Wiley & Sons, 2013.


There are several important documents available online about departmental regulations, policies and guidelines at the following site. We expect all students to be familiar with these.

Notices about this class will be posted to the class forum in the Learn system.

COSC students will also be made members of a class called “CSSE Notices”, where general notices will be posted that apply to all classes (such as information about building access or job opportunities).

Additional Course Outline Information

Grade moderation

The Computer Science department's grading policy states that in order to pass a course you must meet two requirements:
1. You must achieve an average grade of at least 50% over all assessment items.
2. You must achieve an average mark of at least 45% on invigilated assessment items.
If you satisfy both these criteria, your grade will be determined by the following University- wide scale for converting marks to grades: an average mark of 50% is sufficient for a C- grade, an average mark of 55% earns a C grade, 60% earns a B- grade and so forth. However if you do not satisfy both the passing criteria you will be given either a D or E grade depending on marks. Marks are sometimes scaled to achieve consistency between courses from year to year.

Students may apply for special consideration if their performance in an assessment is affected by extenuating circumstances beyond their control.

Applications for special consideration should be submitted via the Examinations Office website within five days of the assessment.

Where an extension may be granted for an assessment, this will be decided by direct application to the Department and an application to the Examinations Office may not be required.

Special consideration is not available for items worth less than 10% of the course.

Students prevented by extenuating circumstances from completing the course after the final date for withdrawing, may apply for special consideration for late discontinuation of the course. Applications must be submitted to the Examinations Office within five days of the end of the main examination period for the semester.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $817.00

International fee $3,525.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Computer Science and Software Engineering.

All COSC262 Occurrences

  • COSC262-17S1 (C) Semester One 2017