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This class teaches algorithms for extracting models and other information from very large amounts of data. The emphasis is on techniques that are efficient and that scale well.

About the Course

We introduce the student to modern distributed file systems and MapReduce, including what distinguishes good MapReduce algorithms from good algorithms in general.  The rest of the course is devoted to algorithms for extracting models and information from large datasets.  Students will learn how Google's PageRank algorithm models importance of Web pages and some of the many extensions that have been used for a variety of purposes.  We'll cover locality-sensitive hashing, a bit of magic that allows you to find similar items in a set of items so large you cannot possibly compare each pair.  When data is stored as a very large, sparse matrix, dimensionality reduction is often a good way to model the data, but standard approaches do not scale well; we'll talk about efficient approaches.  Many other large-scale algorithms are covered as well, as outlined in the course syllabus.

Course Syllabus

Week 1:
Link Analysis -- PageRank

Week 2:
Locality-Sensitive Hashing -- Basics + Applications
Distance Measures
Nearest Neighbors
Frequent Itemsets

Week 3:
Data Stream Mining
Analysis of Large Graphs

Week 4:
Recommender Systems
Dimensionality Reduction

Week 5:
Computational Advertising

Week 6:
Support-Vector Machines
Decision Trees
MapReduce Algorithms

Week 7:
More About Link Analysis --  Topic-specific PageRank, Link Spam.
More About Locality-Sensitive Hashing

Recommended Background

A course in database systems programming (e.g., SQL) is recommended, as is a basic course on algorithms and data structures.

Suggested Readings

There is a free book "Mining of Massive Datasets, by Leskovec, Rajaraman, and Ullman (who by coincidence are the instructors for this course :-).  You can download it at  Hardcopies can be purchased from Cambridge Univ. Press.

Course Format

There will be about 2 hours of video to watch each week, broken into small segments.  There will be automated homeworks to do for each week, and a final exam.


  • Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?

    Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructors.  A level disignated "distinction" will also be offered.

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