COMPSCI 514: Algorithms for Data Science (Fall 2021)

Time: Tuesday/Thursday 1:00pm-2:15pm
Location: Goessmann Laboratory Room 20. All lectures will be recorded and posted under the Schedule tab.
Professor: Cameron Musco
Teaching Assistants:
Online Section: Andrew McGregor is teaching an online section of 514 that will closely parallel this section. You may attend his office hours (Wednesday 9am) and his virtual lectures Tuesday/Thursday 11:30pm-12:45pm if it is helpful. See Moodle for Zoom links.
Course Description: With the advent of social networks, ubiquitous sensors, and large-scale computational science, data scientists must deal with data that is massive in size, arrives at blinding speeds, and often must be processed within interactive or quasi-interactive time frames. This course studies the mathematical foundations of big data processing, developing algorithms and learning how to analyze them. We explore methods for sampling, sketching, and distributed processing of large scale databases, graphs, and data streams for purposes of scalable statistical description, querying, pattern mining, and learning. 3 credits.
Prerequisites: The undergraduate prerequisites are COMPSCI 240 (Probability) and COMPSCI 311 (Algorithms). This is a theoretical course with an emphasis on algorithm design, correctness proofs, and analysis. Aside from a general background in algorithms, a strong mathematical background, particularly in linear algebra and probability is required. If you are a masters student with a limited background in either of these subjects, please email me at the start of the semester.
Textbooks: This is no official textbook for this class. We will use some material from:
Related Classes: You may also find some helpful reference material in these similar classes taught at other universities:
Piazza: We will use Piazza for class discussion, questions, and annoucements. Sign up here. We hope for Piazza to be a key interactive component of the class. Thus, we encourage posting and good answering of other students' questions as part of up to 5% extra credit for class participation (see below).
Problem Sets: Problem sets can be completed in groups of up to three students. If you work in a group, you submit a single problem set together. You may talk to people not in your group about the problem sets at a high level, but may not work through the detailed solutions together, write them up together, etc. We very strongly encourage you to work in a three person group, as it will give an advantage in doing the problem sets. At the beginning of the semester we will make a Piazza post where you can look for teammates.
Weekly Quizzes: A quiz will be posted in Moodle each Thursday after class, due the following Monday at 8pm. These are short quizzes (designed to take ~15 minutes) to check that you are following the material and help me make adjustments if needed. Quizzes will include check-in questions asking for feedback on class pacing and on topics that need clarification, or that you would like to see discussed more. The lowest quiz grade will be dropped.
Exams: The midterm will be held in class on October 19th, and the final will held in person during final exams week. Both will be closed notes. We will be posting extensive review material and practice questions to help you prepare.
Class Participation: Up to 5% extra credit may be awarded for class participation. This may come in many forms, e.g.:
Course Academic Honestly Policy: If caught violating the problem set or quiz rules, students will receive a 0% on the assignment for the first violation, and fail the class for a second violation. Any cheating on the midterm or final will lead to failing the class. For fairness, we apply these rules universally, without exceptions.
UMass Academic Honesty Statement: Since the integrity of the academic enterprise of any institution of higher education requires honesty in scholarship and research, academic honesty is required of all students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Academic dishonesty is prohibited in all programs of the University. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and facilitating dishonesty. Appropriate sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Instructors should take reasonable steps to address academic misconduct. Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the appropriate course instructor as soon as possible. Instances of academic dishonesty not related to a specific course should be brought to the attention of the appropriate department Head or Chair. Since students are expected to be familiar with this policy and the commonly accepted standards of academic integrity, ignorance of such standards is not normally sufficient evidence of lack of intent.
Disability Services: UMass Amherst is committed to making reasonable, effective, and appropriate accommodations to meet the needs to students with disabilities and help create a barrier-free campus. If you have a documented disability on file with Disability Services, you may be eligible for reasonable accommodations in this course. If your disability requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first two weeks of the course so that we may make arrangements in a timely manner.
Helpful UMass Resources: