CS 530: Geometric and Probabilistic Methods in Computer Science *

Instructor: Lance Williams <williams@cs.unm.edu>
Time: MWF 11:00 - 11:50 AM
Location: Woodward 149
Office Hours: Mon. 4:00-5:00, Wed. 4:00-5:00.
Office: FEC 349C


This is a course in applied mathematics for computer scientists, with an emphasis on information theory and linear systems theory. The goal of this course is to introduce computer science graduate students to the practical kind of mathematics useful for simulation and modeling and by researchers in scientific computation, computer vision and graphics, image processing, robotics, machine learning, and neural networks.

Course Syllabus **


This is not a linear algebra course. Knowledge of basic linear algebra is a prerequisite! Concepts you should understand are: vector sum and difference, inner product, matrix product, matrix transpose, matrix inverse, linear independence, span, basis, rank, orthogonality, change of basis, eigenvectors, and eigenvalues. There will be an examination during the second meeting of the class on the mathematics prerequisites. Students who do poorly on the prerequisite examination should take Math 321.


There will be approximately six homework assignments. Many of the homework problems will be similar to those you will find on the midterms and final exams. Other problems will require experimentation in MATLAB. All are designed to increase your understanding of the fundamental ideas. Homeworks are to be turned in during class on the day they are due. They should not be emailed to the professor.

Additional Resources




Most programming will be done in MATLAB or GNU Octave. Both have excellent online documentation. Here are some useful routines:



Although experience shows them to be of little actual value, on all exams (including the prerequisites exam), you are welcome to use a basic scientific calculator, e.g., a TI-30. You will not be allowed to use graphing calculators, programmable calculators, PDA's, or laptops. A good rule of thumb is that if it cost you more than $20, you probably cannot use it. If you have doubts, see me.

* This page can be found at http://www.cs.unm.edu/~williams/cs530f04.html
** Subject to change.