CS 320 provides an introduction to algorithms, their correctness proofs, their complexity, algorithm classes, problems and problem classes.

The course is about learning and practicing principles for organizing your thinking when solving programming problems. Mastering these skills will allow you to discover and invent efficient algorithms of your own, by figuring out what steps are needed for correctness and to reduce running time. We will study a variety of subjects:

  • Orders of magnitude
  • Greedy algorithms and greedy proofs
  • Tree and graph algorithms
    • Depth-first, breadth-first search
    • Bipartite graphs
    • Topological sort
    • Connected components
    • Spanning trees and shortest paths, cycles
  • Divide-and-conquer strategy and techniques for bounding running times of such algorithms
  • Dynamic programming
  • Dynamic multi-threading
  • Reduction of one problem to another (polynomial time reduction)
  • problem classes (P, NP, NPC)


Section 001
Instructor: Sanjay Rajopadhye
Lecture: 2:00-2:50 pm, MWF, BSB 103
Office Hours: Off Sanjay's Home Page
Graduate Teaching Assistants
Prerana Ghotge
Office: CSB 120
Office Hours (Prerana): Tu-Th 9:00-11:00 am

Instructor email:


You must have passed CS220, MATH161, and MATH229 or MATH369, all with a C or better to enroll in this course.

Textbook & Materials

There is one required textbook for this course: Introduction to Algorithms, 3rd edition, by Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, and Clifford Stein.

Additionally, the first 2 chapters of Algorithm Design by Jon Kleinberg and Eva Tardos are on library reserve. These 2 chapters are the main source of introductory materials covered the first weeks of the semester.


Here are the formally graded elements of the course and associated weighting:

Activity Weight
Quizzes 15%
Pre-Re-Quizite 5%
Written Assignments 10%
Programming Assignments   20%
Exams 50%

Your final grade will be determined by the weights above.


Written and programming assignments must be done individually. We will use checkin for these assignments (usually a Friday).


There will be 3 tests, two midterms (15 pts each) and a final (20 pts). You may bring one page (i.e., single sided) of notes to exams. It must have your name on it, and you must turn it in along with your exam.

Grading Policies

Written assignments, programming assignments, and exams will all be done individually and grades assigned on an individual basis. Canvas quizzes must also be done indicvidually, but we will often allow multiple attempts.

Please see Professional Conduct below for more information and links to resources.

Late and Makeup Policy

Deadlines are deadlines. If you fail to take a quiz, or check in an assignment, or don't take an exam on time, you get no points for that element. Assignments, including program assignments will have a 20% penalty up to 72 hours late. Written Assigments are handed in in class. Our standard Programming Assignment due date is Friday 5:00 pm, so our late date is the following Monday 5:00 pm. After that you will not receive any credit for the assignment. You may be excused from class and make up missed work if you are part of a CSU-sponsored event and you make arrangements with the instructor at least 1 week prior to the event.

There is one important class of exceptions to the rule above: unforeseeable emergencies. Examples might include severe illness, the death of a family member or close friend, a house fire, etc. In the case of an unforeseeable emergency, please communicate with the teaching team as soon as possible.

We will drop your lowest score in the quizzes when calculating your final score for the class.

Exams and tests will be held in the same classroom as the regular lectures. Exam dates will be announced in the progress page.

Professional Conduct

All students are expected to conduct themselves professionally. We, specifically the instructors, GTAs, and UTAs assume you are familiar with the policies in the student information sheet for the department. This course will adhere to CSU's policies as explained in the General Catalog. At a minimum, violations will result in a grading penalty in this course and a report to the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services.

Additionally, you are computing professionals. You should be familiar with the code of conduct for the primary professional society, ACM. You can read the ACM Code of Conduct HERE.

We work to maintain an environment supportive of learning in the classroom and lab. Towards that end, we require that you be courteous to and respectful of your fellow participants (i.e., classmates, instructors, GTAs, and UTAs). In particular:

Discussion Boards

A Piazza discussion board class is used to support this course.

Here are some explicit guidelines to assist in establishing the tone and expectations regarding the use of Piazza.

  1. No posting of any code for assignments.
  2. No inappropriate postings: e.g. profanity, sexism, racism, bullying, inflammatory remarks, bad taste.
  3. No grade inquiries: make those directly to the instructors.
  4. All students are expected to follow the discussions.
  5. Instructor posts, like in-class announcments, may clarify and even alter assignment specifications.
  6. Use the existing topics. Please don't start new threads.
  7. Only answer questions by other students when you are confident you are both correct and able to craft a helpful explanation.
  8. Questions may of course relate to how best to use tools.
  9. Do not expect instant answers. While answers may often come faster, a 24 hour response cycle is reasonable.
  10. Posts are anonymous one student to another through the Piazza interface.
  11. Posts are archival and individualized for the instructors.

This last item deserves additional comment. Please, keep in mind every word you type may be retained and shared by the instructor with others when the instructor determines there is good reason to do so. This should not concern you. It is the nature of a public discussion board that what you type is archival and public. However, understanding the public and personally identifiable nature of the discussion board should help reinforce the comments above about the importance of Professionalism.