Getting Good At Algorithms: Progress Report #1

algorithms software-engineering

I have been following the algorithms course on coursera the past two weeks. It has been quite a journey.

I find that the instructors are teaching me specific algorithms - karatsuba, merge sort, etc., in a specific context though it may be, they are not providing me with a framework of thought that will allow me to crack most problems in a divide and conquer method.

Perhaps every problem cannot be solved in a divide and conquer paradigm. Perhaps one will only realize and notice patterns once one is able to practice these problems.

I realize that I lost my way along the way becuase I made the following mistakes:

  • I bit off more than I can chew comfortably. I signed up for more than one algorithms course. This leaves me scrambling to go through both of the courses which seem to be going in different directions in covering the content.
  • I am not able to get a chance to cover the offline material - the books and ebooks that I have on the subject - CLRS, Dasgupta, and the other one. I was hoping to get a full spectrum of perspectives on the subject. I was especially hoping to solve the problems in the end of the chapters of these books.

From the looks of it, being good at algorithms may just be a factor of knowing a lot of techniques and algorithms and being able to apply them in the right context.

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