Saturday, December 19, 2009


In a fit of inspiration, I flipped through my videos on my XBMC this morning and realized that I still have a copy of "MIT: Introduction to Algorithms" recorded in 2001. This morning I've been watching episode 3, "Divide and Conquer", recorded 9/12/2001.

It's interesting to see the people reacting to 9/11, when it was still a "great tradgedy" before it became "terrible attacks" when the call was "Feel this pain, yes, but get out and keep making the world better. That's what we must do after an event like this." And then right back into math and CS. I'm glad they didn't have any vinette on "divide and conquer" as practised by the Romans or British (I see that they did make a comment like that in the 2005 lesson).

This is a nice refresher. It's been a long time since I've formal analysis of algorithm run-times beyond "back of the envelope" estimations. If the cost of splitting a problem in two is small compared to the speed/complexity improvement of doing a half-size problem, then this is a win. See also map-reduce et al.

Perhaps it is also time to go through "Algorithms in Perl" and update it for "modern perl"isms? That'd make an interesting blog thread.
A recording from 2005 is available on and on youtube.

Peteris Krumin watched and blogged about all of these episodes. In fact, I think he's the one who transcoded them from realmedia and posted them on Thanks for releasing these under a CC license, MIT!

1 comment:

absurddoctor said...

Trying to clear up my amazon wish list a few months ago, I discovered that "Algorithms With Perl" had been sitting on my list for 5+ years. As it was only a few bucks used, I came up with the same idea of attempting to 'modernize' it, but have been sadly lacking in time.