Prof. Dr. Tobias Friedrich

Algorithmic Gems (Summer Term 2016)

People: Prof. Dr. Tobias Friedrich, Martin Schirneck
Links: Courses IT-Systems Engineering, Algorithm Engineering Moodle


While Algorithm Engineering today is a fast moving research field covered in thousands of papers every year, there are also some notable classical results. These discoveries mark major breakthroughs in the history of Theoretical Computer Science, founded new lines of research, and deepened our insights into the fundamentals of computing.

This seminar considers algorithmic gems that are typically not captured in basic algorithm courses, but have some mathematical beauty. The goal is for the students to be able to read a scientific paper, understand its content and historical significance, and then present these findings to their peers.


There are no formal requirements.

Participants should bring good mathematical skills, since most papers will be fairly technical and contain mathematical proofs, as well as the ability to give a good presentation.

The language of this course is English.


At the beginning of the semester each student has to choose one paper from a prescribed list. The paper is then to be presented in a scientific talk and afterwards summarized in writing. For more details see also paragraph Examination.

Most of the work will be done by the student in a self-organized fashion. Each student will, however, receive an advisor from the Algorithm Engineering group whom he or she can consult for questions about the paper, the presentation, and the summary.


Each student is required to give a presentation on his or her topic about 2-3 months into the semester. The presentation should be between 30-40 minutes long.

Additionally, every student must write a summary of the paper of 3-5 pages, in which he or she also points out its historical significance. The latter need not to be too extensive,  but should show that the student gained a reasonable grasp on the paper's importance and the research it preceded.


The full list of papers to choose from will be available in the Algorithm Engineering Moodle. Your login credentials are the same as your HPI login.

Besides background literature on your personal topic, we strongly recommend to consult at least one book on how to deliver good presentations since this is a skill computer science students are often lacking. We recommend e.g.

  • Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen

Dates and Location

The first meeting will be on Thursday, April 21st, 2016 at 13:30h in Room A-2.2.

Check also the Moodle for up-to-date information.