You've learned the basic algorithms now and are ready to step into the area of more complex problems and algorithms to solve them. Advanced algorithms build upon basic ones and use new ideas. We will start with networks flows which are used in more typical applications such as optimal matchings, finding disjoint paths and flight scheduling as well as more surprising ones like image segmentation in computer vision. We then proceed to linear programming with applications in optimizing budget allocation, portfolio optimization, finding the cheapest diet satisfying all requirements and many others. Next we discuss inherently hard problems for which no exact good solutions are known (and not likely to be found) and how to solve them in practice. We finish with a soft introduction to streaming algorithms that are heavily used in Big Data processing. Such algorithms are usually designed to be able to process huge datasets without being able even to store a dataset.

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Coping with NP-completeness

After the previous module you might be sad: you've just went through 5 courses in Algorithms only to learn that they are not suitable for most real-world problems. However, don't give up yet! People are creative, and they need to solve these problems anyway, so in practice there are often ways to cope with an NP-complete problem at hand. We first show that some special cases on NP-complete problems can, in fact, be solved in polynomial time. We then consider exact algorithms that find a solution much faster than the brute force algorithm. We conclude with approximation algorithms that work in polynomial time and find a solution that is close to being optimal.