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Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2017-18. The current handbook year is 2018-19

Department: Computer Science


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Theory of Computation


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The aim of the module is to equip students with the ability to use techniques and methods to efficiency solve fundamental computational problems as well as to identify barriers to efficient solutions.


  • There are four strands:
  • Advanced Algorithms. Topics will be chosen from sorting and searching, string problems, approximation and randomised algorithms.
  • Complexity and Approximability. Topics will be chosen from space complexity and complexity of optimisation and approximation.
  • Algorithmic Game Theory. Topics will be chosen from games on graphs (congestion games, selfish routing), social choice and algorithmic mechanism design.
  • Coding Theory. Topics will be chosen from entropy, channel capacity, rate-distortion theory and Kolmogorov complexity.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • an understanding of the inherent limitations of computation through appreciation of the topic areas;
  • an appreciation of different parameters and models of computation relevant to the efficient solution of computational problems;
  • an understanding of how to measure, transfer and handle information;
  • a knowledge about various important problem solving paradigms in the broad area of algorithms and complexity.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • an ability to apply techniques and methods from the relevant topics to tackle fundamental computational problems ;
  • an ability to conduct review and self-study to further their knowledge beyond the taught material.
Key Skills:
  • On completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • an ability to think critically;
  • an ability to work with abstract problems;
  • an ability to undertake general problem solving.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures provide the material required to be learned and the application of the theory to practical examples.
  • Coursework identify areas where further independent study should be conducted.
  • Summative assessments test the knowledge acquired and the students' ability to use this knowledge to solve complex problems.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
lectures 44 2 per week 1 hour 44
problems classes 8 4 in term 1, 4 in term 2 1 hour 8
preparation and reading 148
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 66%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100% No
Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 34%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical work 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Example formative exercises given during the course. Additional revision lectures may be arranged in the modules lecture slots in the 3rd term.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University