Programming Concepts

Module code: G6007
Level 4
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Lecture
Assessment modes: Unseen examination

In this module, you are introduced to algorithmic problem solving. Your studies in this module will answer the following questions:

  • what is a problem specification, an algorithm, a computation?
  • what are their properties?
  • how does one develop an algorithm?
  • how can one rigorously argue that an algorithm computes correct solutions to a given problem?
  • how can one measure the efficiency of an algorithm and the complexity of a problem?

As part of the module, you use a simple algorithmic language (pseudo code) for the sake of writing algorithms - the focus of this module is on algorithmic thinking, not coding.

In the module, you specify and develop searching, sorting and other simple (and intuitive) algorithms. You apply and explore principles like divide-and-conquer and recursive programming.

You also look at two important properties of algorithms - 'correctness' and 'complexity'.

Algorithms should only compute correct solutions of a problem. To establish correctness, you are introduced to some relevant (propositional and predicate) logic, in an informal style (focusing on logical reasoning principles rather than logical calculi).

Finally, you discuss asymptotic complexity classes and explore the concept of time complexity of an algorithm.

As part of this module, you undertake exercise classes and coursework, based on a series of examples.

The algorithms you develop in this module should be implemented in Java concurrently or at a later stage in the further programming module.

Module learning outcomes

  • Develop an algorithm from a given problem specification.
  • Prove that a given algorithm is correct for a given problem specification.
  • Analyse a given algorithm and establish its time complexity class.
  • Spot mistakes and suggest possible improvements for a given algorithm.