Upper Level Science and Mathematics

HON 4100-001 MAT: Algorithms and Puzzles

T TH 2:30-3:45

Algorithms are well-defined step-by-step instructions for solving problems. Proliferation of computers in all aspects of the modern life has led to recognition that learning algorithmic thinking is important for students in most majors. In this course, students will study major methods of algorithmic problem solving by solving a wide variety of puzzles from medieval river-crossing problems to latest brainteasers of the Information Age. Certain mathematical concepts related to algorithm design and analysis will be discussed as well. Students will also conduct an independent research on a puzzle topic of their choice and make presentations to the class in lieu of a final exam.
In addition to their fun aspect, puzzles have an advantage of crystallizing algorithmic ideas without the minutiae of computer programming. Therefore no computer programming skills will be assumed or taught in this course.

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