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###### AD

**Overall Rating**

Based on 22 Users

*/ 5*How easy the class is,

**1**being extremely difficult and

**5**being easy peasy.

*/ 5*How clear the class is,

**1**being extremely unclear and

**5**being very clear.

*/ 5*How much workload the class is,

**1**being extremely heavy and

**5**being extremely light.

*/ 5*How helpful the class is,

**1**being not helpful at all and

**5**being extremely helpful.

#### TOP TAGS

- Useful Textbooks
- Tolerates Tardiness
- Appropriately Priced Materials
- Issues PTEs
- Gives Extra Credit

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Sorry, no enrollment data is available.

###### AD

I am writing this to extend my heartiest appreciation towards professor Burgin for delivering such a wonderful class of algorithm. His knowledge on the subject is vast and has cleared lots of my doubts. I had a chance to interact with him personally for discussing my queries. I am sure that the lecture given by him will definitely be helpful to us during our exams. He's a great professor, and very, very fair in grading. He also gives student s chances to earn extra credits in class. As long as you pay attention in lecture, do the homework and go to his office hours, you should be getting the grade you desired. He always makes the subject interesting, and I really love taking his class and learned so much through his lecture. Not only he teaches in a different way to make us interested in learning, but he also understands our problems and helps us find the best way to solve. I am going to graduate soon but I will surely miss you and things you thought me.

Thanks again,

Since the official final grade is submitted, I can finally freely write down what I want to say for this guy.

If you don't want to see this lengthy post, here is the conclusion:

This instructor is horrible. If you can, please avoid him at all cost. At least for his CS 180.

1. Lectures

His lecture is unorganized. He always uses confusing notations to cover algorithms, and he never gives us an example to actually apply those algorithms. A lot of students stopped attending lectures because literally it's a waste of 2 hours. He already skipped a lot of materials (possibly due to time constraints) but he is willing to talk about why Noble prize does not include Math for 20 minutes.

2. Materials covered

He skipped a lot of materials. I have a list of comparison of materials covered.

The second column comes from Majid. The third column is available at math department's website: https://www.math.ucla.edu/ugrad/courses/math/182

Dr. Burgin

1.1, 1.2

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1,3.2, 3.5, 3,6

4.1 (part of)

5.1, 5.4

6.1, 6.4 (part of)

7.1, 7.2, 7.5, 7.7

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4

Majid

1.1

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1, 3.2, 3.5, 3.6

4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

6.1, 6.2, 6,4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.8

7.1, 7.2, 7.5, 7.8, 7.9

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4

Math Department

1.1, 1.2

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1-3.5

4.1, 4.4, 4.5

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

6.1, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6

7.1, 7.2, 7.7, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4?

As you can see, he skipped so many from greedy algorithms and dynamic programming. He also did not cover very important concepts like DAGs until the last lecture. He probably wouldn't cover that at all if no one complained about it to the cs department.

Every time I ask senior students or full-time staffers about algorithms, they always ask me to practice on greedy and dynamic programming. Majid also covered a lot about greedy algorithms and dynamic programming. It is frustrating to see an instructor skipping most widely used types of algorithms in an "introduction to algorithm" class.

I understand that it is an 8-week class and due to time constraint we are not expected to cover as much as a 10-week class. However, he occupied full two hours for every lecture and he was willing to spend 20 minutes (and did not even finish) talking about why Noble prize does not have Math. I do think covering more materials is more important than telling an anecdote. Also, math 182 only has 3 hours in a week, and Majid only covers 1.5 hours max in each lecture.

If we calculate the time here: 20 lectures in a regular quarter for CS 180; Deduce 1 Holiday and 1 midterm -> 18 lectures. Time = 18 * 1.5 = 27 hours.

Then we covert this to get a feel about summer classes: 27 / 2 = 13.5 lectures. In total, we have 8 * 2 = 16 lectures. There is one lecture for midterm and one lecture for final. Then we have 14 lectures.

13.5 < 14

This is simple math. Time should not be an excuse for skipping that many materials.

Also, it's fine if he actually teaches us how those algorithms that he covered work, but the fact is no one understands what he is doing.

Moreover, I have to thank our TAs for covering important topics that Dr. Burgin skipped and for all the interview advices.

3. Homework

3.1 Coverage

There are three homework sets. There are 3 problems (really easy) in homework 1 to practice chapter 1.1 and 2.4. There are 3 problems (really confusing) in homework 2 to practice 4.1, 3.2, 6.4 respectively. There are 2 problems (one really confusing, one really easy) in homework 3 to practice 6.1, 7.1.

As you can see, we do not have enough exercises and he skipped divide and conquer completely.

3.2 Homework specification

The phrasing of homework is really confusing. I understand that he is not a native English speaker, but at least he should specify key things to do homework, right?

For example, in homework 3, problem 1:

Is it a single simple cycle?

Are the weights nonnegative?

We have to ask him after class since his office hours are right after class. For students who have a class right after CS 180, it's unfortunate. If you have those clarifications, please send us emails or post clarifications on piazza, OK??? The whole class are bewildered and have no idea about what homework questions try to ask.

TAs Office Hours are totally useless since TAs, too, have no idea about what his problems mean.

3.3 Homework grading and hand-back

The homework won't be given back to us. We have to ask him to see our homework score one by one, and correct grading issues if possible (actually there are always grading issues due to miscommunications between Dr. Burgin and TAs). Again, students who have a class right after this one really don't have a way to see homework scores and reasons for points taken off.

He made an announcement on week 7 Wednesday about handing back homework and midterms, but the fact is nothing changed. We still need to line up to see our homework and midterms. In fact, I have never been able to see my homework 1 till now.

3.4 Homework solutions

No homework solution is released. If we didn't know how to do those questions before due date, we still don't know how to do them now. In my humble opinion this is not the right way to help students learn materials.

4. Exams

He posted HW2 on July 16th and asked us to do it to prepare for the midterm on July 20th. However, when we have questions about HW2, he wouldn't answer. I went to both TA Office Hours on July 18th and July 19th. Both of them said they had no idea about how to do those HW questions.

On the midterm, there are two really similar questions to ones in HW2. OK, I guess he didn't want to answer those questions because two of them were on the midterm. After the midterm, we asked him about solutions to the midterm, and he said in class "I won't give you answers since you still have HW2."

I am totally confused. An instructor released a homework for students to prepare for the midterm and did not give students solutions to that homework, and then refused to give students solutions to the midterm because the homework used prepare for the midterm was not due yet.

The grading is also ridiculous. The TA for section 1B, Jae, was in the same room when we took the midterm, and Dr. Burgin said that we did not need to prove any property of DFS / BFS. However, Jae took off 2 points for anyone not proving one property of DFS / BFS. He was there when we took the midterm. I have no idea about why he did that. If I had not chosen to skip my M51A lectures to see my midterm, I would have lost those 2 points for ever. 2 points are a huge difference for a non-curved class like this.

The final consists of 3 problems.

1. Knapsack problem. Note he only covered a less generalized version of knapsack problem: subset sum.

2. Network flow. Really easy problem. Just give a counter example.

3. Greedy with exchange argument. I know how to prove using exchange argument, but Dr. Burgin never covered this in his class and majority of students have no clue about how to use exchange argument.

If anyone sit through any other professor's lecture, he or she will be able to do these three problems correctly. However, if you only attended Dr. Burgin's lectures and never really spend time reading necessary chapters from the book, then good luck on your exams.

This class is a total disaster. I paid for nearly 2000 dollars to learn nothing. I have never seen anything more ridiculous in my two years here at UCLA. If you can, please avoid him at all cost. At least for his CS 180.

Grade distribution:

Here is the result from a piazza poll:

A total of 47 vote(s)

17 (36% of users) A

14 (30% of users) B

11 (23% of users) C

3 (6% of users) D

2 (4% of users) Other

One of the other reviews for Summer 2018 is laughable, impertinent, and amounts to nothing more than an impetuous stream of invective. Often those students who do well and are happy do not post reviews precisely because they are satisfied. Those who are unhappy, for whatever reason, tend to make the most noise. I am someone in the former category so I write this review without emotional bias.

Dr. Burgin is the most helpful instructor I've ever had at UCLA. He will explain something to you ten times if necessary without becoming impatient. He welcomes all questions at any time during the lecture. He promised to answer all questions, and that promise was certainly kept.

His lecturing style is not rapid-fire. He speaks slowly and clearly, giving students sufficient time to absorb the material. His aim is not to simply regurgitate information and hope the students understand. Other professors pay a lot less attention to this, and as a result students spend much of the lecture thoroughly confused.

Dr. Burgin does this class the way it is supposed to be done: with full mathematical rigor. This class is about the "rigorous" design and analysis of algorithms. Complexity Theory is a branch of mathematics and that is sufficient reason to mathematically prove the complexity of every algorithm encountered in this class.

Without a rigorous mathematical proof of an algorithm's correctness and complexity, you CANNOT trust the algorithm to always work. The algorithms you usually use are trustworthy because people have proved these things about them. A lot of people think that if something works for n <= 5,000,000 or so then it always works. This is totally, absolutely false and there are thousands of conjectures that have been disproven with huge counterexamples. Counterexamples so large that no computer could ever find them. For example:

https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/514/conjectures-that-have-been-disproved-with-extremely-large-counterexamples

This is why Dr. Burgin does this class with full mathematical rigor. This is the very point of this class, and this is what makes CS180 different from CS32. The algorithmic paradigms covered are diverse and useful: dynamic programming, divide and conquer, greedy, various graph algorithms, and network flow. Dr. Burgin covered all these paradigms in enough detail to ensure that a student can go on to independently tackle problems using these paradigms.

Dr. Burgin does indeed have a PhD in math, and this is a class that heavily uses rigorous mathematics. That makes perfect sense. I don't understand why some other people have a problem with this.

Dr. Burgin's homeworks are not large in number of questions, but they contain some challenging problems. There was one problem that stumped almost everyone. Dr. Burgin gives a lot of extra credit in class for insightful questions and answers. So go and earn that extra credit. It can make the difference between an A and a B. Dr. Burgin also gives assignments that are not required, but will provide extra credit if done.

His midterm was not very difficult but the exam was definitely challenging. There was a rather deceptive-looking problem on network flow as well. One of the highlights of this class was the Ford-Fulkerson algorithm for finding the maximal flow. Dr. Burgin presented the algorithm with full mathematical detail, with which I was very satisfied.

I highly recommend Dr. Burgin's CS180. Few other professors are so concerned about whether their students learn something or not. If you work hard in this class, Dr. Burgin will recognize that.

Professor Burgin is an amazing instructor who explains concepts thoroughly and addresses the questions of his students with care. Likewise, the professor is extremely knowledgeable on many things related to mathematics and computer science theory given his academic training and history of research. Though the course material is difficult, Professor Burgin seeks to explain all topics as thoroughly as possible and makes sure to answer student questions promptly whether they be in lecture, office hours, or over email. He is a very pleasant person, and I am convinced that he cares about his students greatly.

During this summer session, we had 5 homework assignments over the course of eight weeks. Each homework assignment contained few questions, but each question required students to think critically about the algorithmic problem at hand. Though the homework was difficult on its own, Professor Burgin was quick to clarify any problems and was very patient with our questions. During lectures, he also spends extra time covering material closely related to the homework, even mentioning if what is currently being covered will be helpful for the homework. Thus, the homework assignments ended up feeling very fair. So long as you pay attention in lectures and ask the right questions, the homework assignments will feel very doable and will not absorb too much of your time.

Exam problems were similar to the homework problems in structure and format. The grading was fair for both the midterm and final and both exams felt doable. Since this was an online class, Professor Burgin kept the format as a twenty-four hour exam similar to the math department. Though I usually loathe this format due to its increased length and difficulty, Professor Burgin kept the length very reasonable which I greatly appreciate. To do well on exams, make sure to pay attention in lectures especially during the few lectures before the exam. He often points us in the correct direction when it comes to studying and even drops hints for what we might see on the exams.

Overall, I would highly recommend Professor Burgin if you are a proactive student who enjoys professors who are not afraid of communicating. Likewise, if you enjoy the math/theory side of computer science, then you will feel right at home with this professor given his expertise in many things math-related. It is rare to find a professor who is as caring as Professor Burgin and this class has quickly become one of my favorites. I would definitely take more classes with him in the future if given the opportunity.

Dr. Burgin has been a great instructor. He is extremely clear in his lectures and does not rush through any concept. He takes time to go through the algorithms and explain the proof extremely well. Dr. Burgin does not rush through algorithms to cover as much material as possible over the duration of the quarter, instead, he makes sure that what he does cover is understood by most of his students.

While the homework assignments given in this class are extremely different from most classes, they are an opportunity to apply algorithms to various ‘fictional’ scenarios. The problems are challenging, however, the assignment helps look at an abstract scenario in a concrete way by reducing the question to one that we have been taught an algorithm for. These problems are extremely helpful in understanding the widespread application of an algorithm; just because an algorithm is named a sorting algorithm or a scheduling algorithm doesn’t mean that it can only be applied to those situations. Dr. Burgin’s assignments prepare us to think of real-world problems in the terms of a problem that we can solve.

Additionally, I really appreciate how Dr. Burgin accepts different answers for the same problem. He encourages approaching the problem from different perspectives and thinking beyond the box.

Dr. Burgin also loves to discuss algorithms with students and promptly responds to queries. He goes through student ideas and pseudo algorithms and guides students towards the correct solution.

Dr. Burgin was also extremely helpful and accommodating during summer 2020 when the class was online due to COVID-19 restrictions. He gave students 24 hours to work on the tests (midterm and final) and was extremely considerate of students in different timezones.

Very mixed feelings about Professor Burgin.

First of all, Burgin speaks unbelievably slow. He almost reminds me of Flash from Zootopia. Anyways, this could be good or bad, depending on the person. It might be nice since you do have ample time to write down what the professor writes, and then think about it, and maybe even check your phone and reply to some messages or look at memes while you wait for him to finish his sentence. I, on the other hand, found it very hard to follow along and keep attention. It doesn't help that he makes a TON of mistakes. He'll make a mistake, and then talk for a minute or two before realizing his mistake. And since so much time has passed, it's sometimes confusing to know which mistake he was referring.

With that said, he is a very kind, old man. As other reviews have said, he's very welcoming and encourages questions (also can be bad sometimes, i.e. a lot of class time spent on questions that should really be saved for office hours).

I took CS180 Intro to Algorithms with Dr. Burgin in Summer of 2017 and it turned out to be one of my favorite classes at Ucla. The professor is top notch. He takes teaching seriously and during class and office hours, his only concern is to help you learn. I really liked that. Every class, he would remind us that no question was stupid, and would move at a pace that everyone could follow. At times this may seem a hindrance to students who are quick, but I can tell you that although one may think they know the material, there multiple right answers in algorithms and paying attention may give you a different perspective to looking at a problem and make you better for it.

In order to help students pay attention, the professor awards points for answering questions or intelligent comments. These help your grade in the end. There is a limit on these to also make sure other students have a chance to get these points. It is very fair. He will also stay after class to answer every single question before he leaves. So essentially he is holding an office hour for about an hour after every class.

The homeworks are very fair. I took the summer session, but we were still given ample time to try the problems, go to office hours to ask questions, then try again. The homework questions may require some clarification in order to narrow the answer down. There was even a homework problem that didn't really have a definitive answer, but such is the nature of algorithms and the professor was very understanding in office hours when this was brought up. He listens to his students and is very reasonable. There were 3 homeworks over 8 weeks.

The midterms and final are very fair and the questions are very similar to the homeworks. There were no surprises. During the tests, you are allowed to ask any questions you need for clarification. You are also allowed any handwritten notes. After the midterms are graded, he will answer any questions about it. He listens to all grievances, just please don't misuse it.

Interactions with the professor are always pleasant and helpful. He is highly intelligent, but most importantly he is also adept at going to the student's perspective and explaining things from any level of understanding. Algorithms can get hard very quickly and I found that he was always able to help me understand concepts. Of course, this means that I attempted to understand by myself already. You have to make it your responsibility to spend some time beforehand to comb notes and materials and then express any lack of understanding precisely. This will make the best use of your time.

Overall, the professor is top notch. A true intellectual with a humble, caring personality. To help his students learn he has created a class with reasonable homework and tests, and also provides many opportunities to ask questions both during class and outside of it. The class is not perfect; I would love to see a computer component added, since algorithms necessitates realization on a computing device in the real world. That said, I do also see the value in being able to create and evaluate an algorithm on paper. I found the class rewarding and would definitely recommend it.

TL;DR

This instructor is horrible. If you can, please avoid him at all cost. At least for his CS 180.

===================================================================

1. Lectures

His lecture is unorganized. He always uses confusing notations to cover algorithms, and he never gives us an example to actually apply those algorithms. A lot of students stopped attending lectures because literally it's a waste of 2 hours. He already skipped a lot of materials (possibly due to time constraints) but he is willing to talk about why Noble prize does not include Math for 20 minutes.

2. Materials covered

He skipped a lot of materials. I have a list of comparison of materials covered.

The second column comes from Majid. The third column is available at math department's website: https://www.math.ucla.edu/ugrad/courses/math/182

Dr. Burgin

1.1, 1.2

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1,3.2, 3.5, 3,6

4.1 (part of)

5.1, 5.4

6.1, 6.4 (part of)

7.1, 7.2, 7.5, 7.7

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4

Majid

1.1

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1, 3.2, 3.5, 3.6

4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

6.1, 6.2, 6,4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.8

7.1, 7.2, 7.5, 7.8, 7.9

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4

Math Department

1.1, 1.2

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1-3.5

4.1, 4.4, 4.5

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

6.1, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6

7.1, 7.2, 7.7, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4?

As you can see, he skipped so many from greedy algorithms and dynamic programming. He also did not cover very important concepts like DAGs until the last lecture. He probably wouldn't cover that at all if no one complained about it to the cs department.

Every time I ask senior students or full-time staffers about algorithms, they always ask me to practice on greedy and dynamic programming. Majid also covered a lot about greedy algorithms and dynamic programming. It is frustrating to see an instructor skipping most widely used types of algorithms in an "introduction to algorithm" class.

I understand that it is an 8-week class and due to time constraint we are not expected to cover as much as a 10-week class. However, he occupied full two hours for every lecture and he was willing to spend 20 minutes (and did not even finish) talking about why Noble prize does not have Math. I do think covering more materials is more important than telling an anecdote. Also, math 182 only has 3 hours in a week, and Majid only covers 1.5 hours max in each lecture.

If we calculate the time here: 20 lectures in a regular quarter for CS 180; Deduce 1 Holiday and 1 midterm -> 18 lectures. Time = 18 * 1.5 = 27 hours.

Then we covert this to get a feel about summer classes: 27 / 2 = 13.5 lectures. In total, we have 8 * 2 = 16 lectures. There is one lecture for midterm and one lecture for final. Then we have 14 lectures.

13.5 < 14

This is simple math. Time should not be an excuse for skipping that many materials.

Also, it's fine if he actually teaches us how those algorithms that he covered work, but the fact is no one understands what he is doing.

Moreover, I have to thank our TAs for covering important topics that Dr. Burgin skipped and for all the interview advices.

3. Homework

3.1 Coverage

There are three homework sets. There are 3 problems (really easy) in homework 1 to practice chapter 1.1 and 2.4. There are 3 problems (really confusing) in homework 2 to practice 4.1, 3.2, 6.4 respectively. There are 2 problems (one really confusing, one really easy) in homework 3 to practice 6.1, 7.1.

As you can see, we do not have enough exercises and he skipped divide and conquer completely.

3.2 Homework specification

The phrasing of homework is really confusing. I understand that he is not a native English speaker, but at least he should specify key things to do homework, right?

For example, in homework 3, problem 1:

Is it a single simple cycle?

Are the weights nonnegative?

We have to ask him after class since his office hours are right after class. For students who have a class right after CS 180, it's unfortunate. If you have those clarifications, please send us emails or post clarifications on piazza, OK??? The whole class are bewildered and have no idea about what homework questions try to ask.

TAs Office Hours are totally useless since TAs, too, have no idea about what his problems mean.

3.3 Homework grading and hand-back

The homework won't be given back to us. We have to ask him to see our homework score one by one, and correct grading issues if possible (actually there are always grading issues due to miscommunications between Dr. Burgin and TAs). Again, students who have a class right after this one really don't have a way to see homework scores and reasons for points taken off.

He made an announcement on week 7 Wednesday about handing back homework and midterms, but the fact is nothing changed. We still need to line up to see our homework and midterms. In fact, I have never been able to see my homework 1 till now.

3.4 Homework solutions

No homework solution is released. If we didn't know how to do those questions before due date, we still don't know how to do them now. In my humble opinion this is not the right way to help students learn materials.

4. Exams

He posted HW2 on July 16th and asked us to do it to prepare for the midterm on July 20th. However, when we have questions about HW2, he wouldn't answer. I went to both TA Office Hours on July 18th and July 19th. Both of them said they had no idea about how to do those HW questions.

On the midterm, there are two really similar questions to ones in HW2. OK, I guess he didn't want to answer those questions because two of them were on the midterm. After the midterm, we asked him about solutions to the midterm, and he said in class "I won't give you answers since you still have HW2."

I am totally confused. An instructor released a homework for students to prepare for the midterm and did not give students solutions to that homework, and then refused to give students solutions to the midterm because the homework used prepare for the midterm was not due yet.

The grading is also ridiculous. The TA for section 1B, Jae, was in the same room when we took the midterm, and Dr. Burgin said that we did not need to prove any property of DFS / BFS. However, Jae took off 2 points for anyone not proving one property of DFS / BFS. He was there when we took the midterm. I have no idea about why he did that. If I had not chosen to skip my M51A lectures to see my midterm, I would have lost those 2 points for ever. 2 points are a huge difference for a non-curved class like this.

The final consists of 3 problems.

1. Knapsack problem. Note he only covered a less generalized version of knapsack problem: subset sum.

2. Network flow. Really easy problem. Just give a counter example.

3. Greedy with exchange argument. I know how to prove using exchange argument, but Dr. Burgin never covered this in his class and majority of students have no clue about how to use exchange argument.

If anyone sit through any other professor's lecture, he or she will be able to do these three problems correctly. However, if you only attended Dr. Burgin's lectures and never really spend time reading necessary chapters from the book, then good luck on your exams.

This class is a total disaster. I paid for nearly 2000 dollars to learn nothing. I have never seen anything more ridiculous in my two years here at UCLA. If you can, please avoid him at all cost. At least for his CS 180.

Grade distribution:

Here is the result from a piazza poll:

A total of 47 vote(s)

17 (36% of users) A

14 (30% of users) B

11 (23% of users) C

3 (6% of users) D

2 (4% of users) Other

This is the most unprofessional, poorly run class I've ever taken in my life. The fact that grades have not even been posted past the deadline shows this (in fact, CCLE/MyUCLA does not even have any assignment grades posted, though we have received 1 homework back and you could see your midterm grade only by asking the professor AFTER class). The syllabus has no information on the class's grading scheme, test dates, or even the textbook, and the professor did not mention any of this until we asked him during week 2. In addition, whoever graded our homework/exams did not leave ANY notes of what people did wrong or how they lost credit (on exams with 3 free response questions). How could you even ask the professor how and where you lost 2 points out of 30 in your 2 page long answer? We had no idea how we were expected to be graded on exams/homeworks that are entirely free response. Worst of all, the homework specs are so unclear that they explicitly leave out very bare and essential information about the problems; you are expected to make assumptions. On top of all this, I didn't learn anything aside from what I read in the textbook because the professor can't lecture to save his life.

He talks so incredibly slow that it is near impossible to pay attention, but even if you do pay attention he doesn't take time to explain concepts behind the algorithms well and seems to just be going through his notes (he just assumes you can understand every complex step of the algorithms and proofs), on top of this he uses no slides and writes only on a blackboard (in the most unorganized, non-intuitive way possible so even copying the board won't do you anything.) He pretty much only uses mathematical notation to explain algorithms and problem backgrounds, which I feel is not the best way to teach material with real-life applications. For such an essential CS class, I highly recommend you do not take it with Burgin because I didn't learn anything from the professor and the whole experience was awful at best.

I took CS 180 during Summer 2017 with Professor Mark Burgin. The course is an overview of the major algorithm and complexity topics an undergraduate studying computer science should know.

I found Professor Burgin’s lectures to be very clear. He explains all of the mathematical symbols he uses and doesn’t skip over any steps in the derivation and construction of algorithms/proofs. He is also always asking if there are any questions from students and takes time to answer each question, no matter how trivial it may be.

There were no surprises in the examinations. They covered topics from the lecture, homework, and textbook and are straightforward questions. He also tells you what to prepare for beforehand if you ask so there is every opportunity to do well on the exams.

There were 3 homework assignments, each with 2-3 questions. This may be a pro or a con depending on you. For me it was a positive thing because I was taking another summer course so having homework due every other week allowed me to have a manageable course-load. It also gave me enough time to absorb the material and learn the topics.

Professor Burgin also encourages participation in class by rewarding students who answer questions or spot mistakes with extra credit points that increase your overall grade in the course. I found this to be an extremely effective incentive as it made me pay extra attention during lecture which made me learn more. It also boosted my grade!

As for Professor Burgin, I found that he genuinely cares about student learning and it shows in his classroom demeanor. He takes time after class and during office hour to answer each student’s question and is always willing to give hints and guide the student in a helpful direction without giving away the answer.

Overall my experience in the class greatly exceeded my expectations. As an applied mathematics major, I came in expecting to learn important computer science algorithms to help prepare for a graduate degree and career in computer science. Not only did I learn algorithms, but I also came away empowered with the knowledge and confidence to do well in my chosen endeavor. Granted I worked very hard in this course, but the path to do well and learn in this class is very clear, unlike some other courses.

I absolutely recommend Professor Burgin and would definitely take him for any course he teaches. This has been one of my favorite and rewarding courses at UCLA, and he’s a valuable asset to the UCLA faculty. If you’re ready to commit to the class and put in the time, then you should go for it!

This is how you do well in the course:

1. Read the corresponding book sections. The course uses Algorithm by Kleinberg and Tardos, and follows it closely. If there’s something you don’t understand or want greater clarification in, you can read the corresponding book chapter for greater detail.

2. Ask to clarify anything you don’t understand. Professor Burgin is willing to answer any question so ask during lecture, after class, or during office hours if there is something you don’t understand. Also watch youtube videos on the algorithms, it helps to have a different perspective on the same thing.

3. Start the homework problems when they’re assigned and give yourself some time to absorb the problems. You’ll get marked off points by the grader for being imprecise or unclear so you want to give yourself enough time to make sure your solution is correct and that you understand it because the exam questions will test you on the same topics.

4. Work smart. Don’t reinvent the wheel. The solutions to the homework closely follow the book examples. I saw some classmates spend a long time trying to come up with a very complicated and convoluted solution when the solution was similar to a book example. READ THE BOOK.

5. Go to Office Hours/TA. They can point you in the direction to go for homework, help verify your solutions, and Professor Burgin will give hints on what will be on the exams if you ask.

That's it folks!

I am writing this to extend my heartiest appreciation towards professor Burgin for delivering such a wonderful class of algorithm. His knowledge on the subject is vast and has cleared lots of my doubts. I had a chance to interact with him personally for discussing my queries. I am sure that the lecture given by him will definitely be helpful to us during our exams. He's a great professor, and very, very fair in grading. He also gives student s chances to earn extra credits in class. As long as you pay attention in lecture, do the homework and go to his office hours, you should be getting the grade you desired. He always makes the subject interesting, and I really love taking his class and learned so much through his lecture. Not only he teaches in a different way to make us interested in learning, but he also understands our problems and helps us find the best way to solve. I am going to graduate soon but I will surely miss you and things you thought me.

Thanks again,

Since the official final grade is submitted, I can finally freely write down what I want to say for this guy.

If you don't want to see this lengthy post, here is the conclusion:

This instructor is horrible. If you can, please avoid him at all cost. At least for his CS 180.

1. Lectures

His lecture is unorganized. He always uses confusing notations to cover algorithms, and he never gives us an example to actually apply those algorithms. A lot of students stopped attending lectures because literally it's a waste of 2 hours. He already skipped a lot of materials (possibly due to time constraints) but he is willing to talk about why Noble prize does not include Math for 20 minutes.

2. Materials covered

He skipped a lot of materials. I have a list of comparison of materials covered.

The second column comes from Majid. The third column is available at math department's website: https://www.math.ucla.edu/ugrad/courses/math/182

Dr. Burgin

1.1, 1.2

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1,3.2, 3.5, 3,6

4.1 (part of)

5.1, 5.4

6.1, 6.4 (part of)

7.1, 7.2, 7.5, 7.7

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4

Majid

1.1

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1, 3.2, 3.5, 3.6

4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

6.1, 6.2, 6,4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.8

7.1, 7.2, 7.5, 7.8, 7.9

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4

Math Department

1.1, 1.2

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1-3.5

4.1, 4.4, 4.5

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

6.1, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6

7.1, 7.2, 7.7, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4?

As you can see, he skipped so many from greedy algorithms and dynamic programming. He also did not cover very important concepts like DAGs until the last lecture. He probably wouldn't cover that at all if no one complained about it to the cs department.

Every time I ask senior students or full-time staffers about algorithms, they always ask me to practice on greedy and dynamic programming. Majid also covered a lot about greedy algorithms and dynamic programming. It is frustrating to see an instructor skipping most widely used types of algorithms in an "introduction to algorithm" class.

I understand that it is an 8-week class and due to time constraint we are not expected to cover as much as a 10-week class. However, he occupied full two hours for every lecture and he was willing to spend 20 minutes (and did not even finish) talking about why Noble prize does not have Math. I do think covering more materials is more important than telling an anecdote. Also, math 182 only has 3 hours in a week, and Majid only covers 1.5 hours max in each lecture.

If we calculate the time here: 20 lectures in a regular quarter for CS 180; Deduce 1 Holiday and 1 midterm -> 18 lectures. Time = 18 * 1.5 = 27 hours.

Then we covert this to get a feel about summer classes: 27 / 2 = 13.5 lectures. In total, we have 8 * 2 = 16 lectures. There is one lecture for midterm and one lecture for final. Then we have 14 lectures.

13.5 < 14

This is simple math. Time should not be an excuse for skipping that many materials.

Also, it's fine if he actually teaches us how those algorithms that he covered work, but the fact is no one understands what he is doing.

Moreover, I have to thank our TAs for covering important topics that Dr. Burgin skipped and for all the interview advices.

3. Homework

3.1 Coverage

There are three homework sets. There are 3 problems (really easy) in homework 1 to practice chapter 1.1 and 2.4. There are 3 problems (really confusing) in homework 2 to practice 4.1, 3.2, 6.4 respectively. There are 2 problems (one really confusing, one really easy) in homework 3 to practice 6.1, 7.1.

As you can see, we do not have enough exercises and he skipped divide and conquer completely.

3.2 Homework specification

The phrasing of homework is really confusing. I understand that he is not a native English speaker, but at least he should specify key things to do homework, right?

For example, in homework 3, problem 1:

Is it a single simple cycle?

Are the weights nonnegative?

We have to ask him after class since his office hours are right after class. For students who have a class right after CS 180, it's unfortunate. If you have those clarifications, please send us emails or post clarifications on piazza, OK??? The whole class are bewildered and have no idea about what homework questions try to ask.

TAs Office Hours are totally useless since TAs, too, have no idea about what his problems mean.

3.3 Homework grading and hand-back

The homework won't be given back to us. We have to ask him to see our homework score one by one, and correct grading issues if possible (actually there are always grading issues due to miscommunications between Dr. Burgin and TAs). Again, students who have a class right after this one really don't have a way to see homework scores and reasons for points taken off.

He made an announcement on week 7 Wednesday about handing back homework and midterms, but the fact is nothing changed. We still need to line up to see our homework and midterms. In fact, I have never been able to see my homework 1 till now.

3.4 Homework solutions

No homework solution is released. If we didn't know how to do those questions before due date, we still don't know how to do them now. In my humble opinion this is not the right way to help students learn materials.

4. Exams

He posted HW2 on July 16th and asked us to do it to prepare for the midterm on July 20th. However, when we have questions about HW2, he wouldn't answer. I went to both TA Office Hours on July 18th and July 19th. Both of them said they had no idea about how to do those HW questions.

On the midterm, there are two really similar questions to ones in HW2. OK, I guess he didn't want to answer those questions because two of them were on the midterm. After the midterm, we asked him about solutions to the midterm, and he said in class "I won't give you answers since you still have HW2."

I am totally confused. An instructor released a homework for students to prepare for the midterm and did not give students solutions to that homework, and then refused to give students solutions to the midterm because the homework used prepare for the midterm was not due yet.

The grading is also ridiculous. The TA for section 1B, Jae, was in the same room when we took the midterm, and Dr. Burgin said that we did not need to prove any property of DFS / BFS. However, Jae took off 2 points for anyone not proving one property of DFS / BFS. He was there when we took the midterm. I have no idea about why he did that. If I had not chosen to skip my M51A lectures to see my midterm, I would have lost those 2 points for ever. 2 points are a huge difference for a non-curved class like this.

The final consists of 3 problems.

1. Knapsack problem. Note he only covered a less generalized version of knapsack problem: subset sum.

2. Network flow. Really easy problem. Just give a counter example.

3. Greedy with exchange argument. I know how to prove using exchange argument, but Dr. Burgin never covered this in his class and majority of students have no clue about how to use exchange argument.

If anyone sit through any other professor's lecture, he or she will be able to do these three problems correctly. However, if you only attended Dr. Burgin's lectures and never really spend time reading necessary chapters from the book, then good luck on your exams.

This class is a total disaster. I paid for nearly 2000 dollars to learn nothing. I have never seen anything more ridiculous in my two years here at UCLA. If you can, please avoid him at all cost. At least for his CS 180.

Grade distribution:

Here is the result from a piazza poll:

A total of 47 vote(s)

17 (36% of users) A

14 (30% of users) B

11 (23% of users) C

3 (6% of users) D

2 (4% of users) Other

One of the other reviews for Summer 2018 is laughable, impertinent, and amounts to nothing more than an impetuous stream of invective. Often those students who do well and are happy do not post reviews precisely because they are satisfied. Those who are unhappy, for whatever reason, tend to make the most noise. I am someone in the former category so I write this review without emotional bias.

Dr. Burgin is the most helpful instructor I've ever had at UCLA. He will explain something to you ten times if necessary without becoming impatient. He welcomes all questions at any time during the lecture. He promised to answer all questions, and that promise was certainly kept.

His lecturing style is not rapid-fire. He speaks slowly and clearly, giving students sufficient time to absorb the material. His aim is not to simply regurgitate information and hope the students understand. Other professors pay a lot less attention to this, and as a result students spend much of the lecture thoroughly confused.

Dr. Burgin does this class the way it is supposed to be done: with full mathematical rigor. This class is about the "rigorous" design and analysis of algorithms. Complexity Theory is a branch of mathematics and that is sufficient reason to mathematically prove the complexity of every algorithm encountered in this class.

Without a rigorous mathematical proof of an algorithm's correctness and complexity, you CANNOT trust the algorithm to always work. The algorithms you usually use are trustworthy because people have proved these things about them. A lot of people think that if something works for n <= 5,000,000 or so then it always works. This is totally, absolutely false and there are thousands of conjectures that have been disproven with huge counterexamples. Counterexamples so large that no computer could ever find them. For example:

https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/514/conjectures-that-have-been-disproved-with-extremely-large-counterexamples

This is why Dr. Burgin does this class with full mathematical rigor. This is the very point of this class, and this is what makes CS180 different from CS32. The algorithmic paradigms covered are diverse and useful: dynamic programming, divide and conquer, greedy, various graph algorithms, and network flow. Dr. Burgin covered all these paradigms in enough detail to ensure that a student can go on to independently tackle problems using these paradigms.

Dr. Burgin does indeed have a PhD in math, and this is a class that heavily uses rigorous mathematics. That makes perfect sense. I don't understand why some other people have a problem with this.

Dr. Burgin's homeworks are not large in number of questions, but they contain some challenging problems. There was one problem that stumped almost everyone. Dr. Burgin gives a lot of extra credit in class for insightful questions and answers. So go and earn that extra credit. It can make the difference between an A and a B. Dr. Burgin also gives assignments that are not required, but will provide extra credit if done.

His midterm was not very difficult but the exam was definitely challenging. There was a rather deceptive-looking problem on network flow as well. One of the highlights of this class was the Ford-Fulkerson algorithm for finding the maximal flow. Dr. Burgin presented the algorithm with full mathematical detail, with which I was very satisfied.

I highly recommend Dr. Burgin's CS180. Few other professors are so concerned about whether their students learn something or not. If you work hard in this class, Dr. Burgin will recognize that.

Professor Burgin is an amazing instructor who explains concepts thoroughly and addresses the questions of his students with care. Likewise, the professor is extremely knowledgeable on many things related to mathematics and computer science theory given his academic training and history of research. Though the course material is difficult, Professor Burgin seeks to explain all topics as thoroughly as possible and makes sure to answer student questions promptly whether they be in lecture, office hours, or over email. He is a very pleasant person, and I am convinced that he cares about his students greatly.

During this summer session, we had 5 homework assignments over the course of eight weeks. Each homework assignment contained few questions, but each question required students to think critically about the algorithmic problem at hand. Though the homework was difficult on its own, Professor Burgin was quick to clarify any problems and was very patient with our questions. During lectures, he also spends extra time covering material closely related to the homework, even mentioning if what is currently being covered will be helpful for the homework. Thus, the homework assignments ended up feeling very fair. So long as you pay attention in lectures and ask the right questions, the homework assignments will feel very doable and will not absorb too much of your time.

Exam problems were similar to the homework problems in structure and format. The grading was fair for both the midterm and final and both exams felt doable. Since this was an online class, Professor Burgin kept the format as a twenty-four hour exam similar to the math department. Though I usually loathe this format due to its increased length and difficulty, Professor Burgin kept the length very reasonable which I greatly appreciate. To do well on exams, make sure to pay attention in lectures especially during the few lectures before the exam. He often points us in the correct direction when it comes to studying and even drops hints for what we might see on the exams.

Overall, I would highly recommend Professor Burgin if you are a proactive student who enjoys professors who are not afraid of communicating. Likewise, if you enjoy the math/theory side of computer science, then you will feel right at home with this professor given his expertise in many things math-related. It is rare to find a professor who is as caring as Professor Burgin and this class has quickly become one of my favorites. I would definitely take more classes with him in the future if given the opportunity.

Dr. Burgin has been a great instructor. He is extremely clear in his lectures and does not rush through any concept. He takes time to go through the algorithms and explain the proof extremely well. Dr. Burgin does not rush through algorithms to cover as much material as possible over the duration of the quarter, instead, he makes sure that what he does cover is understood by most of his students.

While the homework assignments given in this class are extremely different from most classes, they are an opportunity to apply algorithms to various ‘fictional’ scenarios. The problems are challenging, however, the assignment helps look at an abstract scenario in a concrete way by reducing the question to one that we have been taught an algorithm for. These problems are extremely helpful in understanding the widespread application of an algorithm; just because an algorithm is named a sorting algorithm or a scheduling algorithm doesn’t mean that it can only be applied to those situations. Dr. Burgin’s assignments prepare us to think of real-world problems in the terms of a problem that we can solve.

Additionally, I really appreciate how Dr. Burgin accepts different answers for the same problem. He encourages approaching the problem from different perspectives and thinking beyond the box.

Dr. Burgin also loves to discuss algorithms with students and promptly responds to queries. He goes through student ideas and pseudo algorithms and guides students towards the correct solution.

Dr. Burgin was also extremely helpful and accommodating during summer 2020 when the class was online due to COVID-19 restrictions. He gave students 24 hours to work on the tests (midterm and final) and was extremely considerate of students in different timezones.

Very mixed feelings about Professor Burgin.

First of all, Burgin speaks unbelievably slow. He almost reminds me of Flash from Zootopia. Anyways, this could be good or bad, depending on the person. It might be nice since you do have ample time to write down what the professor writes, and then think about it, and maybe even check your phone and reply to some messages or look at memes while you wait for him to finish his sentence. I, on the other hand, found it very hard to follow along and keep attention. It doesn't help that he makes a TON of mistakes. He'll make a mistake, and then talk for a minute or two before realizing his mistake. And since so much time has passed, it's sometimes confusing to know which mistake he was referring.

With that said, he is a very kind, old man. As other reviews have said, he's very welcoming and encourages questions (also can be bad sometimes, i.e. a lot of class time spent on questions that should really be saved for office hours).

I took CS180 Intro to Algorithms with Dr. Burgin in Summer of 2017 and it turned out to be one of my favorite classes at Ucla. The professor is top notch. He takes teaching seriously and during class and office hours, his only concern is to help you learn. I really liked that. Every class, he would remind us that no question was stupid, and would move at a pace that everyone could follow. At times this may seem a hindrance to students who are quick, but I can tell you that although one may think they know the material, there multiple right answers in algorithms and paying attention may give you a different perspective to looking at a problem and make you better for it.

In order to help students pay attention, the professor awards points for answering questions or intelligent comments. These help your grade in the end. There is a limit on these to also make sure other students have a chance to get these points. It is very fair. He will also stay after class to answer every single question before he leaves. So essentially he is holding an office hour for about an hour after every class.

The homeworks are very fair. I took the summer session, but we were still given ample time to try the problems, go to office hours to ask questions, then try again. The homework questions may require some clarification in order to narrow the answer down. There was even a homework problem that didn't really have a definitive answer, but such is the nature of algorithms and the professor was very understanding in office hours when this was brought up. He listens to his students and is very reasonable. There were 3 homeworks over 8 weeks.

The midterms and final are very fair and the questions are very similar to the homeworks. There were no surprises. During the tests, you are allowed to ask any questions you need for clarification. You are also allowed any handwritten notes. After the midterms are graded, he will answer any questions about it. He listens to all grievances, just please don't misuse it.

Interactions with the professor are always pleasant and helpful. He is highly intelligent, but most importantly he is also adept at going to the student's perspective and explaining things from any level of understanding. Algorithms can get hard very quickly and I found that he was always able to help me understand concepts. Of course, this means that I attempted to understand by myself already. You have to make it your responsibility to spend some time beforehand to comb notes and materials and then express any lack of understanding precisely. This will make the best use of your time.

Overall, the professor is top notch. A true intellectual with a humble, caring personality. To help his students learn he has created a class with reasonable homework and tests, and also provides many opportunities to ask questions both during class and outside of it. The class is not perfect; I would love to see a computer component added, since algorithms necessitates realization on a computing device in the real world. That said, I do also see the value in being able to create and evaluate an algorithm on paper. I found the class rewarding and would definitely recommend it.

TL;DR

This instructor is horrible. If you can, please avoid him at all cost. At least for his CS 180.

===================================================================

1. Lectures

His lecture is unorganized. He always uses confusing notations to cover algorithms, and he never gives us an example to actually apply those algorithms. A lot of students stopped attending lectures because literally it's a waste of 2 hours. He already skipped a lot of materials (possibly due to time constraints) but he is willing to talk about why Noble prize does not include Math for 20 minutes.

2. Materials covered

He skipped a lot of materials. I have a list of comparison of materials covered.

The second column comes from Majid. The third column is available at math department's website: https://www.math.ucla.edu/ugrad/courses/math/182

Dr. Burgin

1.1, 1.2

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1,3.2, 3.5, 3,6

4.1 (part of)

5.1, 5.4

6.1, 6.4 (part of)

7.1, 7.2, 7.5, 7.7

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4

Majid

1.1

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1, 3.2, 3.5, 3.6

4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

6.1, 6.2, 6,4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.8

7.1, 7.2, 7.5, 7.8, 7.9

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4

Math Department

1.1, 1.2

2.1, 2.2, 2.4

3.1-3.5

4.1, 4.4, 4.5

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

6.1, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6

7.1, 7.2, 7.7, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11

8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4?

As you can see, he skipped so many from greedy algorithms and dynamic programming. He also did not cover very important concepts like DAGs until the last lecture. He probably wouldn't cover that at all if no one complained about it to the cs department.

Every time I ask senior students or full-time staffers about algorithms, they always ask me to practice on greedy and dynamic programming. Majid also covered a lot about greedy algorithms and dynamic programming. It is frustrating to see an instructor skipping most widely used types of algorithms in an "introduction to algorithm" class.

I understand that it is an 8-week class and due to time constraint we are not expected to cover as much as a 10-week class. However, he occupied full two hours for every lecture and he was willing to spend 20 minutes (and did not even finish) talking about why Noble prize does not have Math. I do think covering more materials is more important than telling an anecdote. Also, math 182 only has 3 hours in a week, and Majid only covers 1.5 hours max in each lecture.

If we calculate the time here: 20 lectures in a regular quarter for CS 180; Deduce 1 Holiday and 1 midterm -> 18 lectures. Time = 18 * 1.5 = 27 hours.

Then we covert this to get a feel about summer classes: 27 / 2 = 13.5 lectures. In total, we have 8 * 2 = 16 lectures. There is one lecture for midterm and one lecture for final. Then we have 14 lectures.

13.5 < 14

This is simple math. Time should not be an excuse for skipping that many materials.

Also, it's fine if he actually teaches us how those algorithms that he covered work, but the fact is no one understands what he is doing.

Moreover, I have to thank our TAs for covering important topics that Dr. Burgin skipped and for all the interview advices.

3. Homework

3.1 Coverage

There are three homework sets. There are 3 problems (really easy) in homework 1 to practice chapter 1.1 and 2.4. There are 3 problems (really confusing) in homework 2 to practice 4.1, 3.2, 6.4 respectively. There are 2 problems (one really confusing, one really easy) in homework 3 to practice 6.1, 7.1.

As you can see, we do not have enough exercises and he skipped divide and conquer completely.

3.2 Homework specification

The phrasing of homework is really confusing. I understand that he is not a native English speaker, but at least he should specify key things to do homework, right?

For example, in homework 3, problem 1:

Is it a single simple cycle?

Are the weights nonnegative?

We have to ask him after class since his office hours are right after class. For students who have a class right after CS 180, it's unfortunate. If you have those clarifications, please send us emails or post clarifications on piazza, OK??? The whole class are bewildered and have no idea about what homework questions try to ask.

TAs Office Hours are totally useless since TAs, too, have no idea about what his problems mean.

3.3 Homework grading and hand-back

The homework won't be given back to us. We have to ask him to see our homework score one by one, and correct grading issues if possible (actually there are always grading issues due to miscommunications between Dr. Burgin and TAs). Again, students who have a class right after this one really don't have a way to see homework scores and reasons for points taken off.

He made an announcement on week 7 Wednesday about handing back homework and midterms, but the fact is nothing changed. We still need to line up to see our homework and midterms. In fact, I have never been able to see my homework 1 till now.

3.4 Homework solutions

No homework solution is released. If we didn't know how to do those questions before due date, we still don't know how to do them now. In my humble opinion this is not the right way to help students learn materials.

4. Exams

He posted HW2 on July 16th and asked us to do it to prepare for the midterm on July 20th. However, when we have questions about HW2, he wouldn't answer. I went to both TA Office Hours on July 18th and July 19th. Both of them said they had no idea about how to do those HW questions.

On the midterm, there are two really similar questions to ones in HW2. OK, I guess he didn't want to answer those questions because two of them were on the midterm. After the midterm, we asked him about solutions to the midterm, and he said in class "I won't give you answers since you still have HW2."

I am totally confused. An instructor released a homework for students to prepare for the midterm and did not give students solutions to that homework, and then refused to give students solutions to the midterm because the homework used prepare for the midterm was not due yet.

The grading is also ridiculous. The TA for section 1B, Jae, was in the same room when we took the midterm, and Dr. Burgin said that we did not need to prove any property of DFS / BFS. However, Jae took off 2 points for anyone not proving one property of DFS / BFS. He was there when we took the midterm. I have no idea about why he did that. If I had not chosen to skip my M51A lectures to see my midterm, I would have lost those 2 points for ever. 2 points are a huge difference for a non-curved class like this.

The final consists of 3 problems.

1. Knapsack problem. Note he only covered a less generalized version of knapsack problem: subset sum.

2. Network flow. Really easy problem. Just give a counter example.

3. Greedy with exchange argument. I know how to prove using exchange argument, but Dr. Burgin never covered this in his class and majority of students have no clue about how to use exchange argument.

If anyone sit through any other professor's lecture, he or she will be able to do these three problems correctly. However, if you only attended Dr. Burgin's lectures and never really spend time reading necessary chapters from the book, then good luck on your exams.

This class is a total disaster. I paid for nearly 2000 dollars to learn nothing. I have never seen anything more ridiculous in my two years here at UCLA. If you can, please avoid him at all cost. At least for his CS 180.

Grade distribution:

Here is the result from a piazza poll:

A total of 47 vote(s)

17 (36% of users) A

14 (30% of users) B

11 (23% of users) C

3 (6% of users) D

2 (4% of users) Other

This is the most unprofessional, poorly run class I've ever taken in my life. The fact that grades have not even been posted past the deadline shows this (in fact, CCLE/MyUCLA does not even have any assignment grades posted, though we have received 1 homework back and you could see your midterm grade only by asking the professor AFTER class). The syllabus has no information on the class's grading scheme, test dates, or even the textbook, and the professor did not mention any of this until we asked him during week 2. In addition, whoever graded our homework/exams did not leave ANY notes of what people did wrong or how they lost credit (on exams with 3 free response questions). How could you even ask the professor how and where you lost 2 points out of 30 in your 2 page long answer? We had no idea how we were expected to be graded on exams/homeworks that are entirely free response. Worst of all, the homework specs are so unclear that they explicitly leave out very bare and essential information about the problems; you are expected to make assumptions. On top of all this, I didn't learn anything aside from what I read in the textbook because the professor can't lecture to save his life.

He talks so incredibly slow that it is near impossible to pay attention, but even if you do pay attention he doesn't take time to explain concepts behind the algorithms well and seems to just be going through his notes (he just assumes you can understand every complex step of the algorithms and proofs), on top of this he uses no slides and writes only on a blackboard (in the most unorganized, non-intuitive way possible so even copying the board won't do you anything.) He pretty much only uses mathematical notation to explain algorithms and problem backgrounds, which I feel is not the best way to teach material with real-life applications. For such an essential CS class, I highly recommend you do not take it with Burgin because I didn't learn anything from the professor and the whole experience was awful at best.

I took CS 180 during Summer 2017 with Professor Mark Burgin. The course is an overview of the major algorithm and complexity topics an undergraduate studying computer science should know.

I found Professor Burgin’s lectures to be very clear. He explains all of the mathematical symbols he uses and doesn’t skip over any steps in the derivation and construction of algorithms/proofs. He is also always asking if there are any questions from students and takes time to answer each question, no matter how trivial it may be.

There were no surprises in the examinations. They covered topics from the lecture, homework, and textbook and are straightforward questions. He also tells you what to prepare for beforehand if you ask so there is every opportunity to do well on the exams.

There were 3 homework assignments, each with 2-3 questions. This may be a pro or a con depending on you. For me it was a positive thing because I was taking another summer course so having homework due every other week allowed me to have a manageable course-load. It also gave me enough time to absorb the material and learn the topics.

Professor Burgin also encourages participation in class by rewarding students who answer questions or spot mistakes with extra credit points that increase your overall grade in the course. I found this to be an extremely effective incentive as it made me pay extra attention during lecture which made me learn more. It also boosted my grade!

As for Professor Burgin, I found that he genuinely cares about student learning and it shows in his classroom demeanor. He takes time after class and during office hour to answer each student’s question and is always willing to give hints and guide the student in a helpful direction without giving away the answer.

Overall my experience in the class greatly exceeded my expectations. As an applied mathematics major, I came in expecting to learn important computer science algorithms to help prepare for a graduate degree and career in computer science. Not only did I learn algorithms, but I also came away empowered with the knowledge and confidence to do well in my chosen endeavor. Granted I worked very hard in this course, but the path to do well and learn in this class is very clear, unlike some other courses.

I absolutely recommend Professor Burgin and would definitely take him for any course he teaches. This has been one of my favorite and rewarding courses at UCLA, and he’s a valuable asset to the UCLA faculty. If you’re ready to commit to the class and put in the time, then you should go for it!

This is how you do well in the course:

1. Read the corresponding book sections. The course uses Algorithm by Kleinberg and Tardos, and follows it closely. If there’s something you don’t understand or want greater clarification in, you can read the corresponding book chapter for greater detail.

2. Ask to clarify anything you don’t understand. Professor Burgin is willing to answer any question so ask during lecture, after class, or during office hours if there is something you don’t understand. Also watch youtube videos on the algorithms, it helps to have a different perspective on the same thing.

3. Start the homework problems when they’re assigned and give yourself some time to absorb the problems. You’ll get marked off points by the grader for being imprecise or unclear so you want to give yourself enough time to make sure your solution is correct and that you understand it because the exam questions will test you on the same topics.

4. Work smart. Don’t reinvent the wheel. The solutions to the homework closely follow the book examples. I saw some classmates spend a long time trying to come up with a very complicated and convoluted solution when the solution was similar to a book example. READ THE BOOK.

5. Go to Office Hours/TA. They can point you in the direction to go for homework, help verify your solutions, and Professor Burgin will give hints on what will be on the exams if you ask.

That's it folks!

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