Introduction to Algorithms

Introduction to Algorithms


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Course Description

This course provides an introduction to mathematical modeling of computational problems. It covers the common algorithms, algorithmic paradigms, and data structures used to solve these problems. The course emphasizes the relationship between algorithms and programming, and introduces basic performance measures and analysis techniques for these problems.


A firm grasp of Python and a solid background in discrete mathematics are necessary prerequisites to this course. You are expected to have mastered the material presented in 6.01 Introduction to EECS I and 6.042J Mathematics for Computer Science.

If you have not taken and been successful in each of these subjects, please speak with a TA or professor before enrolling. We do allow students who have equivalent, other experience with the material described above to enroll, but with the firm understanding that mastery of this material is assumed and that course staff will not feel obligated to cover it or to help students who are struggling with it.

6.006 is a 12-unit (4-0-8) subject and serves as a Foundational Computer Science subject under the new curriculum. It is a direct prerequisite for 6.046 Design and Analysis of Algorithms, the theory header.

Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Recitations: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session


Lectures and Recitations

One-hour lectures are held twice a week. You are responsible for material presented in lectures, including oral comments made by the lecturer (or other information that may not be present in the notes).

One-hour recitations are held twice a week, one day after the lectures. You are responsible for the material presented in recitation, which may include new material not presented in lectures. Recitation attendance has been well-correlated with quiz performance in past semesters. Recitations also give you a more intimate opportunity to ask questions of and to interact with the course staff. Your recitation instructor is responsible for determining your final grade.

Problem Sets

We will assign seven problem sets during the course of the semester. Each problem set will consist of a programming assignment, to be completed in Python, and a theory assignment.

If you collaborate with others in any fashion, you must list their names as collaborators. For details, please see the section on our collaboration policy; we take this very seriously.

Late assignments will be severely penalized. (This penalty is currently a 1% deduction every six minutes or part thereof until the end of the tenth hour after the deadline, after which submissions will receive no credit.)


We will give two evening quizzes during the semester; these will each be two hours in duration. There will also be a final exam during finals week.

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