General Information 

Instructor Information 
 Name: My T. Thai
 Office: CSE 566
 Phone: 3523926842
 Email:
mythai@cise.ufl.edu
 Office Hours: W 3:00pm  4:40pm or by
appointments

Course Description 
For many optimization problems of theoretical
and practical interest, it is almost
unfeasible to find an exact solution unless P = NP, thus requiring
techniques for obtaining nearoptimal solution with theoretical
performance guarantee, called approximation algorithms. One of the
central questions is the hardness of approximation, that is, how
tightly we can approximate the solution.
Of a great triumph of theoretical computer
science is the PCP Theorem discovered in the early 1990's and it
became even more important in the mid1990's when it was shown to be
extremely powerful in proving the NPhardness of approximation. Since
then, several optimal or nearoptimal approximation ratios of many
core NPoptimization problems have been found using this connection.
This course will focus on the connection
between PCPs and approximation algorithms. In particular, the course
will cover many of the inapproximability results and PCPs used to
prove them, including very recent results on the cutting edge of
research.

Course Objectives 
I plan to cover the following:
 Approximation Algorithms and Ratios
 Inapproximability Proofs
 Probabilistically Checkable Proofs (PCPs)
and The PCP connection
 Study Several Inapproximability Results,
both classic and recent results
 If time allows, the Dinur's proof of PCPs,
The Unique Games Conjecture, and Expander Graphs

Prerequisites 
 There is no formal prerequisite for this
course. However, students should have a solid background in algorithms
and the theory of NPcompleteness. Knowing approximation algorithms is
a plus.

Textbooks 
 Not surprisingly, no textbook is used in this course. Instead, a list of
related papers will be provided along with my notes

Grading Policies 
 Homework Assignments:
 2 homework assignments, each weighs 20%
 Due at the beginning of the lecture on
the due date
 No late assignment will be accepted
 Presentation:
 Present one paper, either selected from
the list of papers or one own interest with an approval of the
instructor. The presentation must include the details helping others
to understand the proofs, not simply state the theorems and results.
 Weighs 30%
 Final Project:
 Cutoff points:
 A >= 85%, 85% > B >= 75%, 75% >
C >= 65%

Other Policies 
 Academic Integrity Policy:
http://regulations.ufl.edu/chapter4/4017.pdf
 Collaboration:
 You may discuss with other students on
solutions of homework assignments. However, you must write up
solutions on your own independently
 Cite any sources that you use to help obtain your
solutions (but do not copy the sources)
