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Algorithms, period 1, 2008, TIN092/DIT600

Status: Avslutad
Öppen för svar: 2008-10-20 - 2008-10-24
Antal svar: 21
Procent av deltagarna som svarat: ?%
Kontaktperson: Peter Damaschke»
Utbildningsprogram som genomför enkäten: Chalmers

1. Was your own background in mathematics and data structures sufficient to follow the course?

21 svarande

strong»3 14%
suitable»13 61%
weak, but I could catch up»5 23%
insufficient»0 0%

Genomsnitt: 2.09

- OK, but not fresh.» (suitable)
- I had not done any discrete math since high school and I I knew nothing of more advance data structures. But my background is in bioengineering, so I knew that I had to catch up on my own.» (weak, but I could catch up)

2. Course goals are:

21 svarande

modest»0 0%
appropriate»10 47%
challenging, but OK»10 47%
too ambitious»1 4%

Genomsnitt: 2.57

- Good that you have to be creative and not just memorize stuff.» (appropriate)

3. Did the course reach the declared goals?

21 svarande

more than that»1 4%
yes, fully»12 57%
to a large extent»7 33%
partially»1 4%
barely»0 0%

Genomsnitt: 2.38

- The most important one, is that the course encourage the student to think. then formalize the thoughts, then tackle the details.» (yes, fully)

4. Which of these statements do you agree to?

21 svarande

(på denna fråga var det möjligt att välja flera svarsalternativ)

Efficient algorithms are useful and have many applications.»19 90%
Speed of algorithms is important.»17 80%
Properties of algorithms should be proved, not only tested.»15 71%

- the last point is quite obvious, specially with the aid of the programming assignments. on different machines, different languages, the code gives different results.» (Efficient algorithms are useful and have many applications., Speed of algorithms is important., Properties of algorithms should be proved, not only tested.)
- Correctness is much more important than speed and efficiency though.» (Efficient algorithms are useful and have many applications., Speed of algorithms is important., Properties of algorithms should be proved, not only tested.)
- Proofs are boring...» (Efficient algorithms are useful and have many applications., Speed of algorithms is important.)

5. Are the course contents useful for your further education and professional plans?

21 svarande

yes, much»10 47%
somewhat»6 28%
hard to predict»5 23%
I do not think so»0 0%

Genomsnitt: 1.76

- in fact, it got me interested in the field, i might seek to do research in the field in the future.» (yes, much)
- I intend to follow a career in the computer science field, therefore knowledge of algorithms is useful even if the subject is not my main focus.» (somewhat)

6. How much of the course contents became clear already in class?

21 svarande

(almost) everything»1 4%
most of it»9 42%
part of it»6 28%
a bit, I got an idea»4 19%
(almost) nothing»0 0%
I do not know. I did not attend many classes.»1 4%

Genomsnitt: 2.8

- we were given the chance to ask, discuss during the class, so basically nothing was unclear when the class ends.» ((almost) everything)
- Maybe there should have been another lecture on NP-completeness. » (most of it)
- Peter is an excellent lecturer! The parts you didn"t understand in class was mostly easy to understand from the printed lecture notes. » (most of it)
- more of how to solve exercises like thoose on the exam» (a bit, I got an idea)
- because in starting lectures there was need to be revised some basic concepts so that all courses could be understand easily.» (a bit, I got an idea)

7. How much of the course contents became clear in total?

... that means, after classes and/or self-study

20 svarande

(almost) everything»5 25%
most of it»9 45%
part of it»2 10%
a bit, I got an idea»4 20%
(almost) nothing»0 0%

Genomsnitt: 2.25

- because i could not understand starting lectures so, next were impossible to understand for me.» (a bit, I got an idea)

8. Overlap of course contents with other courses you took earlier:

21 svarande

no substantial overlap»8 38%
some overlap, but with new facets of the known things»12 57%
there was needless overlap»1 4%

Genomsnitt: 1.66

- Everything was new to me, but then I have a different background than most of the other students. » (no substantial overlap)
- Maybe some parts of the section about graphs could be left out. This section had already been covered in the course Datastrukturer. » (some overlap, but with new facets of the known things)
- This course was more formal and precise, and it included more practical uses of simple algorithms (such as BFS and DFS).» (some overlap, but with new facets of the known things)
- Not that much that it became annoying» (there was needless overlap)

9. Course material (book etc.):

19 svarande

excellent»6 31%
good»9 47%
fair»3 15%
poor»1 5%

Genomsnitt: 1.94

- Haven"t opened the book more than once - maybe that"s cause for my failure of this course» (?)
- I like wordy books, when the presentation is full including different results, consequences, ..etc. the book is very good when it comes to this point.» (excellent)
- Did not own the book, but the lecture notes where excellent.» (excellent)
- A bit "chatty", but otherwise _very_ good. Very relevant for the course.» (excellent)
- Alot of BS in the first chapter but otherwise good» (good)
- Very nice lecture notes.» (good)
- Did not have time to read the book, but it seemed nice. Same thing with the PDF files.» (good)
- Could use more examples in lecture notes!» (fair)
- no answers to exercises, hard to check if one is on right track or is thinking completely wrong. there are solutions to the book exercises on the internet however only the teacher can download them....» (poor)

10. Which subjects are particularly difficult?

21 svarande

(på denna fråga var det möjligt att välja flera svarsalternativ)

basic notions»0 0%
heuristics»3 14%
greedy»2 9%
dynamic programming»11 52%
divide-and-conquer»8 38%
graph algorithms»5 23%
reductions»7 33%
P and NP»8 38%

- I fully understand the subject. but it"s a bit hard for me to devise new divide and conquer ideas. the graph algorithms are not particularly difficult, but some depend of advanced data structures which makes abstract thinking of the problem a bit difficult.» (divide-and-conquer, graph algorithms)
- I misunderstood reductions to some extent, so it took more time to understand the issue.» (reductions)
- I answered incorrectly on the Dynamic Programming question on the exam. » (dynamic programming)
- Some proofs and derivations were presented too hastly.» (heuristics, dynamic programming)

11. Which aspects are particularly difficult?

21 svarande

(på denna fråga var det möjligt att välja flera svarsalternativ)

understanding problem motivations, applications»3 14%
getting ideas, algorithm design process»14 66%
correctness proofs»15 71%
data structure details»5 23%
complexity analysis»3 14%
applying high-level descriptions to concrete instances»6 28%

- It was sometimes difficult to figure out if a specific problem was a non-obvious instance of some well known type of problem» (correctness proofs)
- Spending an hour and half to get no solution on one exam question was a little unproductive. » (getting ideas, algorithm design process)
- esp. complexity analysis.» (getting ideas, algorithm design process, complexity analysis, applying high-level descriptions to concrete instances)

12. Programming assignments:

21 svarande

trivial, without learning effect»1 4%
simple, but I got some new insights»13 61%
I got a clearly better understanding of some techniques»7 33%
too difficult, hard to manage»0 0%

Genomsnitt: 2.28

- Would be nice if there were more problems covering more of the course material but with same difficulty» (simple, but I got some new insights)
- This is possibly the first course where I think that more labs would be nice. » (simple, but I got some new insights)
- Since both me and my friend have programming experience, it mostly felt like re-phrasing the formulas from the lecture.» (simple, but I got some new insights)
- It was nice to see the difference between a naive algorithm and an efficient one in concrete numbers.» (simple, but I got some new insights)
- i think the level was ok, it wasnt all that hard, however it helped to understand DP better when dealing with a not so hard task. » (simple, but I got some new insights)
- Application of the dynamic programming technique helped a lot with the understanding similar problems.» (I got a clearly better understanding of some techniques)
- More labs! Force us to work on the course!» (I got a clearly better understanding of some techniques)

13. Did you get the necessary help for the programming assignments?

21 svarande

I did not seek help.»21 100%
yes, OK»0 0%
yes, but could be improved»0 0%
insufficient»0 0%

Genomsnitt: 1

14. How much did you work on the recommended theoretical exercises?

Count also your silent activities, not only hand-ins, etc.

21 svarande

intensively»5 23%
regularly (more or less)»7 33%
from time to time»2 9%
only sporadically»5 23%
not at all»2 9%

Genomsnitt: 2.61

- After the assignmnets I went thru almost all A and B exercises.» (intensively)
- It was really hard when you didn"t have any solutions. Sometimes you get stuck, and then you can learn a lot from reading and understanding a solution. I don"t know if there are copyright issues for the solution to the book problems, but it would be nice to have solutions for your problems at least. » (intensively)
- Looked at all of the exercises though B, and especially C, were hard to understand.» (regularly (more or less))
- They were very interesting and challenging enough, but another course took most of my time.» (only sporadically)
- I really missed having solotions to look at, I"m not that likely to start sending in solutions and then sit and wait several days... » (only sporadically)
- i have tried but could not solve a single problem, My suggestion is theoretical exercises must be essentials and in groups of 2-4 peoples must.» (not at all)

15. Would you suggest a different form of problem-solving training?

19 svarande

no, OK as it is»10 52%
yes (comment)»9 47%

Genomsnitt: 1.47

- The must exercise teachers have to get a _lot_ better! In a course when problem solving is central, the exercise lectures are extremely important for your understanding. Unfortunately, the exercise lectures where beneath contempt. The teacher came unprepared, wrote some gibberish all over the blackboard and had problems reaching his points. Peter should be able to teach him a lot, since he is such a good lecturer. » (no, OK as it is)
- I"d suggest increasing the number of exercise sessions to twice a week to keep up with the lectures. putting a hint of the problems that would be addressed during the sessions. and crucially change the way of presentation in the exercise sessions. they should be as exciting and insightful as the lectures. The hand-in and feedback process was excellent. I got full feedback on every exercise, which helped me a lot.» (yes (comment))
- It would be nice to have exercises that one have to present in front of a group of other students, hopefully with some discussion. These problems should lead to extra points for the exam. This form is similar to the one used in the programming language course. » (yes (comment))
- More labs! Keep existing labs and add some more, smaller. An other thing, there was no bounus points, but still same grade limits as years when it was possible to take bonus points. Why?!» (yes (comment))
- Have solutions available.... » (yes (comment))
- Give us facit for exercises, at least at the end of the course» (yes (comment))
- the exercise sessions are not fruitful. well i infact felt they are competely waste of time in most cases. it really needs lot and lot of improvement compared to other courses exercise sessions » (yes (comment))
- I would like to have at least some mandatory exercises apart from the labs. Even if you can understand everything on a lecture, that does not mean you will be able to solve it yourself. Coming up with algorithms needs training, that"s what I think is missing, we need to be forced to think for ourselves more.» (yes (comment))
- have regularly meetings in small groups with assistants throughout the course, and discuss the exercises to get more understanding. also the exercise sessions we had was quite messy... would be nice if they were better structured and thought through..» (yes (comment))
- there was a communication gap between students and teacher and teacher assistance due to big class. In this course practice is very very important so all book exercises must be compulsory. and must be in group of 2-4 peoples. And group member must be randomly selected by teacher or teacher assistance.» (yes (comment))

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