course
Honors Data Structures and Algorithms

May 2016

A standard introductory data structures class. Professor Blaer is pretty good, although his proofs could be a little more rigorous. The class felt slow to me, but maybe it was the right speed for an introductory class. The "Honors" nature of this class consisted of learning a little bit of Ocaml, which was interesting. My one complaint is the textbook: Weiss Data Structures and Algorithm Analysis in Java. It is a expensive and terrible book. Both the code and the proofs are lacking. The homeworks were easy, easier than the ones in 1007. The exams were fine.

May 2006

I really enjoyed taking this class with him, and would highly recommend it despite the amount of work that I had to put in - I learned a lot and it was worth it. 1) he understands the material, and explains it clearly and elaborately. 2) It takes a little bit of time to adjust to his accent, but after that you'll find he's an engaging lecturer who always comes prepared and has no problem answering any questions that come up. 3)He's done a lot of theory work so be prepared to tackle that aspect of the algorithms and data structures as well as simply knowing them and how/when they work. 4) Besides being a prolific and accomplished researcher he can teach, and he's a nice guy, which in this case also means very fair grading.

Jan 2000

I've been both a student and ta in prof. allen's class. 1) He has a dry and cutting sense of humor, but certainly does not target or seek to silence students. It's more on the order of tough love. 2) The grading is fair. I've ta'd a number of classes where profs have some nebulous grading standard. Prof. Allen lays it out for the ta's: this is how it's to be done. period. I wasn't one of his best students, certainly, but improved with age. His is one of the most memorable classes and important classes I ever took. Perhaps, the best I took at columbia. This is why I specifically asked to ta for him. Be prepared to work. however, the more you put in, the more you'll take from it. (this goes for ta'ing for him as well).