Parallel and Distributed Computing
Winter 2020 - Professor Cong is great. His exams are straightforward, his projects are interesting, and he actually cares about his students. His projects are performance-based, so some fraction of each project grade depends on how fast your code is. That being said, it is decently easy to achieve A-range performance on pretty much every project, and once you beat A-range performance you get extra credit. It's fun to hear people discuss what optimizing techniques to use and the insane performance some people manage to get on these projects. There's only a few homeworks, and they're not bad. They are graded somewhat harshly, but extra credit from the labs helps make that up. His exams are very much straightforward. There were no tricks on the midterm, just stuff you would know from doing the homework and the problems in the slides. Also, because of COVID-19, he made a special low-stress final that was mostly just reflecting on your projects and analyzing what you could have done better, which was great (none of my other professors changed their final at all). He also immediately let people who needed to leave the area skip the final as soon as he was given department approval. My single criticism of Professor Cong is that his lectures can be a little boring because of his speaking style, but the slides are still good and I still think this is a great class.
Professor Reinman is a very smart, funny guy who makes students feel comfortable in his class. He welcomes discussion, and does not mind questions. However, his lectures aren't very organized and he goes over material very, very quickly. In addition, his lectures on parallel programming concepts are very advanced, and many times I was very lost. His lectures felt like it was directed more towards graduate students or students who are extremely knowledgeable in computers in general. What's worse was that there were no digital lecture notes or even a book to fall back on. However, this class is relatively easier workload-wise than other CS classes. First, he doesn't administer quizzes, midterms, or a final. He only assigned three labs throughout the entire quarter which each took less than 5 hours each. There is a big project in the end where you'd have to parallelize an already existing software, which takes a LOT of time. I recommend this Reinman for CS 133 if you're interested in parallel programming and already have some knowledge of the technology behind it. Also, this class isn't time consuming except for the final project. But for me personally, I didn't get much out of this class.