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Free online course on Algorithms - Algorithms, Part 1

Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
Hi,

I was wondering if any of you guys are taking up the Coursera's Algorithms' course.

Folks at my workplace are taking it. I'm hoping it's going to be good. I've registered for this one too cause I'm liking their Android course.

This is the link ( starts on 31st Jan - i.e today ), if anybody is interested.



Tim Cooke
Bartender

Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 1007
    
  47

Yup, I'm for a bit of that too. Should be good fun.

I did the Functional Programming Principles in Scala course at the end of last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Coursera is a great format for course delivery.

I'm sure there'll be a bit of related discussions going on around here over the next 6 weeks or so. Hope to see you around.


Tim Driven Development
Matthew Brown
Bartender

Joined: Apr 06, 2010
Posts: 4387
    
    8

Is that the Wayne & Sedgewick course? It's excellent - I did it last summer. I'd also recommend the follow-up course Algorithms II (starts shortly after the first one finishes), which covers graph algorithms and string processing.
Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
Matthew Brown wrote:Is that the Wayne & Sedgewick course? It's excellent - I did it last summer. I'd also recommend the follow-up course Algorithms II (starts shortly after the first one finishes), which covers graph algorithms and string processing.


Matthew, thanks for the feedback. Indeed, it is that one.

Tim Cooke wrote:
Yup, I'm for a bit of that too. Should be good fun.


Yup. I like the course content. It'll be interesting but we can't discuss the assignments. Glad that you joined. At least we can discuss things other than the assignments.
Tim Cooke
Bartender

Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 1007
    
  47

Heena Agarwal wrote:but we can't discuss the assignments

Well yes and no. We can't go round flashing the solution, but we can give and receive useful hints.
Mike Simmons
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 3014
    
  10
Kind of like here on CodeRanch.

I took this course and its sequel last year. It was a lot of fun. I also recommend Tim Roughgarden's two Algorithms: Design and Analysis courses - if they offer them again. There is overlap, but not as much as you might expect.
Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
Mike Simmons wrote:Kind of like here on CodeRanch.

Ditto.

They have released the lectures and the assignments. Goodness! This is fairly a good amount of work. 6-10 hours a week! I feel they have released way too many lectures for this week. And then there are assignments also. Have you started already, Tim?

No idea whether I will be able to continue with both the Android course and the Algorithms. I was sort of beginning to like the Android one.

If I'll have to make a choice at some point because of limited time, I'll probably give up on the Android course and continue with the Algorithms.


Mike, I'll be looking out for the Design and the Analysis course, if they offer it after I'm done with this one.

Tim Cooke
Bartender

Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 1007
    
  47

Heena Agarwal wrote:Have you started already, Tim?

No not yet. Have some time this afternoon / evening so hope to get into the lectures then. Does look like quite a heavy workload but we'll see how I get on.

I made the mistake of running two Coursera courses at the same time last year, it wasn't sustainable at all. Had a good few nights up to 3am trying to get the assignments done on time which is no good when you've got a full time day job and other personal commitments. My advice is to take one at a time, unless you have the time to do both (like if you're a student or something).

Anyhoo, life beckons.
Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
Tim Cooke wrote:I made the mistake of running two Coursera courses at the same time last year, it wasn't sustainable at all. Had a good few nights up to 3am trying to get the assignments done on time which is no good when you've got a full time day job and other personal commitments. My advice is to take one at a time, unless you have the time to do both (like if you're a student or something)


Yeah, I can see that this is not a sustainable model at all. I haven't taken any of the Android's week 2 lectures yet and I don't intend to do that in this week at least. Besides I'm liking the Algorithms' course more. It's fun. So much so that it feels like you're solving a crossword puzzle in a Sunday newspaper :-). I'm thoroughly enjoying it. And I think that 6-10 hours thing is an exaggeration but I am yet to go through the next set of demonstrations and this was just the first week.

I'm done with the first set of 5 lectures and the nicest thing about them is that they are of about 10 minutes each and each video covers just one small topic. And it's not like they start with the basics - I think they've carefully chosen a good starting point - Dynamic connectivity using Arrays and Trees for their first set of demonstrations. This was interesting, not too easy stuff, also not complicated at the same time. Exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

I did the first exercise but by mistake I entered an extra space in one of my answers. Thus it was marked wrong. I'm now considering to take that exercise again :-). I'm hoping the next set of 5 demonstrations is also going to be interesting. Good stuff, indeed.
Brian Lim
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 01, 2014
Posts: 5
I did the same. Dropped the Android course for the Algorithms course.

On one hand taking the Android would give me new knowledge. On the other algorithms is definitely more useful, even though I've gone through all of it before in my degree years ago. In the end algorithms and data structures, even if a refresher, is way more useful than platform specific knowledge of an API. I'll go back to learn the Android SDK next time the course comes around if I even need it. I'm never going to develop only for Android -- too old and too little time to ignore iOS and Windows Phone. My main interest in Java is in libraries like Libgdx. I've been out of Java for awhile so hopefully this is a good kick in the nuts. Will pull Effective Java and/or Core Java too just get strong fundamental Java skills instead of "Android" skills.

If I ever did want to develop business apps commercially I would use Phonegap or Intel App Framework over native. But I'm not interested in apps right now. More interested in games with Libgdx and/or Andengine and other cross platform derivatives (still Java) which means Dijkstra's and Astar, not memorizing some API or learning platform specific code.
Mike Simmons
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 3014
    
  10
Tim Cooke wrote:I made the mistake of running two Coursera courses at the same time last year, it wasn't sustainable at all.

Agreed. I've been able to do it a few times when courses overlapped for a few weeks, but it's very taxing. My one main problem with Coursera is, I'd rather have a more flexible schedule, at a generally slower pace, and be able to start a new course when I have the time, not wait until the next time they offer it. I suppose there are some advantages to having a big group of people taking the course at once, but really, for tech classes, for any of these courses that are graded automatically, they could really just let us start and finish them any time, and it would work the same as far as I'm concerned.

Ah, for those of you taking Algorithms: beware that after the end of the course, you will not continue to have access to the lectures. Unlike most other Coursera courses, which let you look up anything you want later. Apparently Princeton has different policies, more restrictive. So, you may want to make sure you've downloaded a copy of anything you want to refer to later.
Matthew Brown
Bartender

Joined: Apr 06, 2010
Posts: 4387
    
    8

Lightweights. I'm doing three .
Tim Cooke
Bartender

Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 1007
    
  47

Matthew Brown wrote:Lightweights. I'm doing three .

I'm going to reserve praise / admiration until you've successfully completed all three

Which ones are you doing?
Matthew Brown
Bartender

Joined: Apr 06, 2010
Posts: 4387
    
    8

Tim Cooke wrote:
Matthew Brown wrote:Lightweights. I'm doing three .

I'm going to reserve praise / admiration until you've successfully completed all three

Well, I have done three at the same time before - all completed. I promised myself I wouldn't do it again, so it's probably better described as "foolhardy" rather than "praise-worthy" .
Tim Cooke wrote:Which ones are you doing?

The android course, Cryptography I, and Combinatorial Game Theory. Fortunately the last of those isn't taking up much time at all so far.

Brian Lim
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 01, 2014
Posts: 5
Matthew Brown wrote:
Tim Cooke wrote:
Matthew Brown wrote:Lightweights. I'm doing three .

I'm going to reserve praise / admiration until you've successfully completed all three

Well, I have done three at the same time before - all completed. I promised myself I wouldn't do it again, so it's probably better described as "foolhardy" rather than "praise-worthy" .
Tim Cooke wrote:Which ones are you doing?

The android course, Cryptography I, and Combinatorial Game Theory. Fortunately the last of those isn't taking up much time at all so far.



Question is do you have a family?

(Actually I don't but I have goals and hobbies that take up just as much time).

I personally think it's impressive but only to an extent. The "hardest" compsci course on Coursera is probably Tim Rougherdern's Algorithms, but it's still a sliver of difficulty compared to the pounding we all got in our degrees. There's only so "hard" you can make it with multiple choice before it becomes complete BS (using tricks and typos and similar answers to increase the spread instead of testing real knowledge).
Tim Cooke
Bartender

Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 1007
    
  47

Matthew Brown wrote:Well, I have done three at the same time before - all completed.

That's very commendable. I don't know your situation but with a full time job and personal commitments to attend to I found it far too much to deal with. It became a chore, which then took all the goodness out of it.

One at a time will do me just rightly.
Matthew Brown
Bartender

Joined: Apr 06, 2010
Posts: 4387
    
    8

At the moment this is my hobby. I think I'm a little bit addicted!

What I find good - and dangerous - is the relatively low level of commitment. "It's only 6 weeks, and I can always drop out if it's too much...why not sign up?"

Based on previous experience of things I've got interested in, I should be just about due to start having declining interest in these courses. But the fact that the subject keeps changing may delay that.
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14146
    
  18

I'm doing the Android course that's currently on Coursera.

I find it's a good way to really commit some time to learning it. There are lots of things I have on my list to have a look at one day, but I never get to them because I already have so many other things to do. (And especially when I go to a conference, things get added to my list - do something with my Raspberry Pi, have a look at JavaFX, learn Android programming, learn more Scala, learn Haskell, etc.). By doing the course I have a good reason to actually spend some time learning the subject.


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Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
And I have many alphas, betas, and gammas.

Funny thing is I finished my chores ahead of time on sunday morning thinking I'd get time to complete the remaining five demos of the algorithm's first week's class and then during the week I'll have some time to complete the Android's week 2 lectures and exercises ( they must have released
the week 3 lectures already ). But as luck would have it, my ISP played its role so well
that I don't have internet connectivity since yesterday evening. It seems they're going to require forever to resolve the issue.

I'm posting this via a slow 2G connection. Watching videos using this connection is out of question.

So for me it is daily chores + a full time job + the two coursera courses + hobby/other work ( includes a weekend class of 90 mins ) + ISP issues ( I have also purchased one additional good speed connection but it requires at least 24 hours to get activated ).

So I'm gonna be still doing the week 1 exercises, while you all would have progressed to week 2. sigh.
Prasanna Raman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 331
Thank you for starting this thread, Heena! I am new to coursera.org and I think I will join you all in this course Does anyone know if there is a course for Object Oriented design or something similar?
Tim Cooke
Bartender

Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 1007
    
  47

You can search all the courses coming up on the Coursera website. But I think you're about to get a TDD and OO Design course from Junilu in your other OO Design: Banking thread.
Prasanna Raman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 331
Tim Cooke wrote:You can search all the courses coming up on the Coursera website.
Thank you, Tim! Yes, I did search through the future courses but couldn't find anything in the near future. So, I thought I'd ask here if someone has previously taken a course like that on Courseera.

Tim Cooke wrote:But I think you're about to get a TDD and OO Design course from Junilu in your other OO Design: Banking thread.
Yes, I can't wait to get started there
Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
Prasanna Raman wrote:and I think I will join you all in this course


Good to know that you've also joined. :-)

Not sure how is everyone doing, but I hope that I'll be able to take one or two part two lectures tonight.

Oh yeah, and I've started downloading parts that I might want to refer to later. Thanks for that advice, Mike.
Prasanna Raman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 331
Have you started the programming assignment yet? I think it is based only on the 1st lecture?
Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
Prasanna Raman wrote:Have you started the programming assignment yet? I think it is based only on the 1st lecture?


Nope, not yet. How is the assignment coming along? I haven't looked at it yet. Will work on it in the weekend.
Prasanna Raman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 331
I haven't started too
Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
Not sure if anybody is still doing this course. I think the Programming assignment is not so straight forward after all, unless I'm missing some obvious clue or something. :-)

The grids, graphs and things like that always look scary and to add to that this assignment has that probability threshold calculation also and those math formula ( PercolationStats ) are even more scary. Has anybody already submitted the week1 solution?

I've just started working on it. And it seems I already want to take a long break of 10-12 hours before I want to get back to working on this problem.
Amar Saikia
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 04, 2014
Posts: 29
    
    1
Guys, I am also going through the course and in the stage of finishing the exercise of Week 1 by today. After that I will move to programming assignment. BTW, the meessage from Heena did scared me a lot

The grids, graphs and things like that always look scary and to add to that this assignment has that probability threshold calculation also and those math formula ( PercolationStats ) are even more scary. Has anybody already submitted the week1 solution?



Anyway it will be fun. I am liking the course.
Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
Welcome to Coderanch, Ryan.

Good to know that you are also going to work on the assignment very soon.

It must be easy; it's week one after all.

Perhaps I should just read the specifications again. But the saturday is almost already over for me. :-(



Prasanna Raman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 331
Heena, have you completed the assignment? I just finished writing the Percolation class, but getting backwash
Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
Nope, haven't even started unfortunately. I guess I'm going to take it slow. Assignments and lectures both, that is.
Amar Saikia
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 04, 2014
Posts: 29
    
    1
Now only I have completed the 1st week's program. Have not started the 2nd week's lecture even. And 3rd week lecture is gonna come tomorrow...running late . Have you guys started 2nd week's lecture?
Tim Cooke
Bartender

Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 1007
    
  47

I watched the videos last week and am planning to catch up with the assignments this weekend. Leaving it to the last minute as usual.
Tim Cooke
Bartender

Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 1007
    
  47

Un-enrolled. I simply do not have the time to commit to it.

Good luck to all that are seeing it through.
Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
I haven't un-enrolled yet, but I'm just as good.

If I'll work on the assignments and lectures, who will work on some boring things. So I'm working on some very boring things these days. But I am downloading the lectures and copying the assignments for laters.

Ryan, I may catch up later. It's so time consuming. But it's nice that you're doing it so religiously.
Tyson Lindner
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 16, 2012
Posts: 172
Yeah I completed this last year but found it very challenging. They say 4-12 hours or something for each assignment, which might be enough to get you a passing grade, but if you want 100% on it you'll have to spend a lot of time optimizing and chasing down bugs, which took sometimes twice as much time for me.
Ahsan Bagwan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 05, 2010
Posts: 158
Just a Coursera discussion I was looking for. I have enrolled but have not managed to complete the assignments due to some reasons. Is it possible to catch up now considering that this is my first course on Coursera (or elsewhere).

I will be watching this thread closely.
Amar Saikia
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 04, 2014
Posts: 29
    
    1
Yeah, like other members I am also finding it little bit more taxing....However I would like to go ahead as far as I can....Lets see how much I can cover.

Heena, hope you can join us again soon....

Ahsan Bagwan, I think you can definitely catch up.
Amar Saikia
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 04, 2014
Posts: 29
    
    1
This Algo class again started from 13th June. Probable this time we can pick up from where we left. Is anyone else doing this time?
Heena Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 25, 2013
Posts: 261
    
    4
Amar Saikia wrote:This Algo class again started from 13th June. Probable this time we can pick up from where we left. Is anyone else doing this time?


I am not doing the algorithms' course but I have the videos and I did refer to a few of their videos much later. I want to do this course. And I will as soon as I can...
How is the course coming along for you?
 
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