Saturday, February 2, 2008

Homework 1 graded

I'll bring them around on Tuesday. The average was 80%.

Some comments on the problems:

1. Some people made the unwarranted assumption that A running in a reasonable amount of time is independent of A outputting a solution of value at least s.

2. Most people got this completely right; the only interesting part was to see how slickly you could prove (b). People were occasionally a little unclear on why their random assignment in (d)
satisfied a constraint with probability >= 1/|K|.

3. Throughout, people were sometimes unclear on what exactly one needs to do to prove a hardness reduction. I think I will post a short note about this in a future blog entry.

Also, in the first part of (a) you needed to be showing, say, 1/3 vs. $(1/3)(1-\epsilon_0)$ hardness for Independent-Set, not 1 vs. $1 - \epsilon_0$. The latter decision problem is completely trivial -- just output 'yes' if the input graph has no edges!

People were also frequently failed to clearly explain what graph product they were using.

4. Most people did pretty well on this one -- thanks to a couple of people for pointing out I should have said 'reduce from Hamiltonian-Cycle'. In part (b), a couple of people added a star rather than what I and most others thought of -- disconnected edges; cute. Only one person was heroic and honest enough to point out that you have to deal with integrality issues vis-a-vis 1/delta when you're adding your stars/edges. I didn't take off any points for the rest of you here.

5a) One cute aspect here is that although from the analysis (repeat Opt $\cdot \ln(n/Opt)$ times to get down to Opt left, then pick Opt more times), it looks like the algorithm might have to "guess" Opt, it doesn't actually -- although the analysis changes, the actual algorithm is the same.

6. No one explained why the sum of the prices equals the cost of the algorithm's solution. It's only about a sentence, but it's still important. I ended up not taking off points for this though.

7. Only one person tried 7a (and got it somewhat right), even though I think it's much shorter than 7b (which does have a lot of painful arithmetic in it). I'll post a solution for it later.

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