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Combinatorics or information theory?

  1. Aug 29, 2006 #1


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    I have to choose between two classes because of a schedule conflict:

    CS 575, combinatorics and graph theory
    This course is taught by the chief undergraduate advisor and earlier I mentioned to him that I'd be taking the course. So politically it may be a good idea. The course says it centers around the solution of a set of interesting problems, which makes it attractive, and it looks like a "foundation" course for further study in CS. On the other hand I have already been introduced to a moderate amount of combinatorics and graph theory from earlier courses and self study so I might get by without it. This is the course I'm already signed up for.

    CS 691GG, applied information theory
    Studying information theory at some point is a major goal I have. This is a graduate course that focuses on the applied and not the theoretic--it is not proof oriented. What I am looking for is specifically the major ideas in information theory, so this might not be the right approach for me. On the other hand, a search for information theory courses at umass and affiliated colleges turns up only this course. So it has not been recently offered and it might not be offered again soon. It has enrollment 19/20.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2006 #2


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    Combinatorics is boring. Information theory would be much more thought-provoking. Of course, this is just my opinion, your interests may be different than mine.

    - Warren
  4. Aug 29, 2006 #3
    Agreed. I took both a combinitorics/graph theory class as well as a wavelets/information theory class (although it was not purely applied we did deal a fair amount with applications). The wavelets class was way better. But then again my combinitorics/graph theory prof sucked...
  5. Aug 29, 2006 #4
    i took the combinatorics class but i loved it....but my professor was nice and he taught us in a very interesting way
  6. Aug 29, 2006 #5
    I find both to be interesting, but my preference would be for Combinatorics and Graph Theory(mainly graph theory as I like the problems, and they related to Neural Nets, Coloring, Management ie traffic,schedules and computaiotnal geometry) as they apply to Optimization. Not sure if Info Theory is related to optimization...but it has links to cryptography & Neural nets.

    You can self-learn Combinatorics/Graph Theory. As mentioned above but alot of the profs for these classes suck, I made the mistake of taking both as they were offered separately in my school and both times were taught by very boring graduate students. Still I aced the classes, but there was no guidance to pursue anything further outside the class.
  7. Aug 30, 2006 #6


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    Thanks for your replies. I'm sure both courses would be interesting. They are each taught by a researcher in a related field. I found an old final for 575
    http://twiki-edlab.cs.umass.edu/bin/view/_F2005Moll575/OldFinal [Broken]
    and it looks pretty challenging.

    I'll have to ask about the future course availability.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
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