Course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:15 Tuesday/Thursday in 1304 SC.
Office hours: Tu 3:15-4:15 PM in Siebel Center 3235
Teaching Assistant: Sarah Christensen (firstname.lastname@example.org) (webpage), Office hours: Wednesdays 11AM to noon, in 4105 Siebel Center.
Course description: This is a course on applied algorithms, focusing on the use of discrete mathematics, graph theory, probability theory, statistics, machine learning, and simulations, to design and analyze algorithms for phylogeny (evolutionary tree) estimation, multiple sequence alignment, genome-scale phylogenetics, genome assembly and annotation, and metagenomics. Each of these biological problems is important and unsolved, so that new methods are needed. Hence, this course will provide opportunities for computer scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians, to do original and important research that can have an impact on biology. Every year, two or more students from this course have done final projects that were subsequently published in major scientific journals; you can be one of them! For examples of these papers, see Mirarab et al., Bioinformatics 2014, Zimmermann et al., BMC Genomics 2014, Davidson et al., BMC Genomics 2015, Chou et al., BMC Genomics 2015, Vachaspati and Warnow, BMC Genomics 2015, and Nute and Warnow, BMC Genomics 2016.
Who should take this class: The course is designed for graduate students in computer science, computer engineering, bioengineering, mathematics, and statistics, and does not depend on any prior background in biology.
Biology graduate students: Every year, biology graduate students have taken the course for credit and done well. Therefore, if you are a biology graduate student where these questions are relevant to your research (especially if using phylogeny estimation or multiple sequence alignments), you are very welcome in the class! However, please meet with me to discuss my expectations regarding homework and exams for biology students.
CS 374 and CS 361/STAT 361, or consent of
no biology background is required.
If you did not take these pre-requisites at UIUC but have
equivalent coursework in algorithms and probability/statistics,
you will probably do fine.
If you are a biologist without this background but you are
working on problems where phylogeny estimation or multiple
sequence alignment are important, you may be able to
take the course as well with some extra work.
Please see me if you have any questions about whether the
course is suitable for you!
An introduction to designing methods for phylogeny
estimation, published by Cambridge University Press.
You can get the hardcopy
at the university bookstore (it is supposed to be there) or
You can also get the E-book at Google Play.
The image of the Monterey Cypress is there because of
the NSF-funded CIPRES project,
whose purpose was to develop the methods and computational
infrastructure to improve large-scale phylogeny estimation.
Other course materials: Approximately the first half of the course is based on phylogenomics and multiple sequence alignment, and is based on the textbook. The second half of the course will cover genome assembly and annotation, comparative genomics, and metagenomics, and will be based on the scientific literature. You are expected to do all assigned reading (whether from the textbook or of published papers) in advance of coming to class.
Homeworks need to be submitted to MOODLE in
PDF format; these
are due at 2 PM on the due date, which
will normally be on Thursdays.
Except as indicated,
homeworks can be submitted
up to 48 hours past the deadline for reduced
credit (80% if within 24 hours
and 60% if within 48 hours).
The single worst homework grade will be dropped.
Final Project: The course requires a final project of each student, and is due in class on the last day the class meets. Please provide hardcopy to me directly - in class or in my office hours. You are strongly encouraged to do a research project, but you can also do a survey paper on some topic relevant to the course material. In both cases, your project should be a paper (of about 15 pages) in a format and style appropriate for submission to a journal. Research projects can involve two students, but survey papers must be done by yourself. Grades on the final project depend upon the kind of project you do. For a research paper, your grade will be 30% writing, 40% scientific/algorithmic rigor, and 30% impact. If you do a survey paper, the grade will be 30% writing, 30% summary of the literature you discuss, and 40% commentary (i.e., insight, critical and thoughtful discussion of the issues that come up). See the chapter on Projects from the course textbook for possible research projects. You might also want to look at this page for a list of possible final projects provided for this course in a previous year.
Class Presentation: All students will present research papers from the recent scientific literature. The presentation of scientific papers is a major part of the course, and all students are expected to participate actively in discussing these papers.
Course Participation: Your course participation will be evaluated in terms of how you participate in the in-class discussions of the scientific literature we are reading, and also of the presentations of scientific papers given by the other students.
Emergency response recommendations
Optional additional reading
Please see 581 2017 course webpage, which has substantial overlap with this year's course.