Fall 2008, CIS 6930, Section 8369 Geometric Complexity and Applications

Instructor: Meera Sitharam

Time and Place: Tuesdays 5/6; Thursday 6 in TUR(lington) 2303 Lecture notes:

Lecture notes

Course Contents:
The course will be the intersection of:

(1) Individual students' research interests AND.

(2) The union of the material in two previous special topics courses:

(a) Geometric constraints and Metric space embeddings course Part I and Part II (see lecture notes)

(b) Advances in Complexity course (see lecture notes)

Course Format:

--I will give a few introductory lectures and we will together decide on a number of topics to read and cover. I may give a few more lectures.
--Each student will be expected to give up to three 2hr lecture presentations on student's choice of appropriate reading material selected after consultation with me. See below on how this will contribute to your grade.
-- After each lecture, one assigned student will be responsible for preparing lecture notes, typing them up, discussing them with me, and posting them by the end of the week with revisions continuing until the lecture notes are high quality. (Each student should expect to come up at least 2-3 times in this rotation; see below on how this will contribute to your grade).
Strong background in Basic Linear Algebra, Discrete Mathematics, Probability. A Design and Analysis of Algorithms class is a must - in any case, you will need real familiarity with the concept of asymptotic or Big O complexity analysis. Some further exposure to graph theory, combinatorics, geometry as well as modern algebra will be useful. You will be expected to do any extra reading required to patch-up holes in your background.

What are the students expected to do:

The assumption is that you are taking this class because you are really interested in it (not for any other reason such as getting enough credits, seeking an easy grade, etc.). Some of you may be doing research related to the area, others could have a strong curiosity about the material. If either of these is true, I would expect you to automatically have the sustained motivation necessary to put in adequate effort on a large chunk of the topics, and you would consequently have no trouble getting a good grade in the course.

Your grade will be based on the following:
--Active class participation (which will show me to what extent you are reading the relevant material, reading to patch up holes in your background, actively going over and keeping up your understanding of the lecture material currently being presented).
-- Discussing offline (study groups) with other students in the class, and communicating the results of your discussions to me and the remainder of the class. This is highly encouraged.
--Timely preparation and posting of thorough, clear, complete lecture notes on the lecture days assigned to you. (see course format above)
--Atleast one 2hr lecture presentation on student's choice of material selected from assigned list (see course format above). Students will be expected to put in significant effort on reading, organiziton and delivery of this presentation.
--Each month I will send an email to each student, giving feedback on how you are doing, what you need to work on, etc.