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[Bug-gnubg] OT again: Whining about my course

From: Øystein Johansen
Subject: [Bug-gnubg] OT again: Whining about my course
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 17:56:10 +0100
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20061207)

Yes, it's really frustrating. The course is called "Algoritme- og kompleksitesteori" (Eng: Algorithm and Complexity Theory)

The content of the course is fine, valuable and interesting. However the lectures are so unorganized that the students don't learn anything at all. Really sad.

The lecturer is not a computer scientist himself. His is educated as in signal processing. The lectures are simply a slide show of the slides he has downloaded from the text books web page (http://ww3.algorithmdesign.net/), except that he skips all the slides where there is either an analysis or pseudo code. Of course he is too lazy to prepare anything on his own.

However, the worst thing is the lectures that's used for problem solving. The solution method to all problems follows this scheme:

Step 1. Present the problem.

(This step is done by displaying a problem from a given exam from a earlier year, at the big screen.)

Step 2. Take a peek in the solution.

(He has to perform this step, since he has no clue what so ever how to solve the problem. Well, if he was prepared for the class, he could have peeked at the solution and memorized the solution in advance, and then at least act like he knew the solution outline.)

Step 3. Present the solution.

(This is the final step that solves the problem. I have to add that there usually some errors in the presented solution, some major errors, and some smaller errors.)

This scheme is repeated over and over for all problems.

Here's an example from todays lecture. It's plain simple problem of analyzing recurrences. Find the asymptotic running time of:

1)   T(n) = 3T(n/2) + n lg n
2)   T(n) = 4T(n/2) + n^2 lg n
3)   T(n) = 2T(n/3) + T(n/5) + n

The first two should be simple. Solve the third, both for upper and lower bounds. I'll post the solution in a few days. The strange thing about this solution is that there's only a small error in the solution, and the final bounds in the solution are actually right. (However I would have used a different and simpler analyzing method.)

Are the university lectures this bad in other countries as well?

(Sorry for the whining, I'm just really frustrated. Too bad the whining doesn't help!)

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