Thursday, September 11, 2014


Preliminary course enrollment numbers are in.  Our new theory course, CS 125 (rapid introduction to theory), has 32 undergrads and 5 others, for an enrollment of 37.  Salil and I had predicted and desired in the 20-40 range for the first year of this course, so we're on target.  We hadn't thought about CS 125 being a class for grad students, but it actually makes sense.  Entering CS grad students who haven't had background in theory, or grad students from other related areas (statistics, mathematics, etc.) who want a fast-paced introduction to the basics of CS theory, would both fit in well for this class.  Maybe next year we'll even advertise it for grad students as well.

Our mainstream required-for-majors theory course, CS 121 (the "here's Turing machines and undecidability and NP-completeness" course), has an enrollment of just over 150, the largest it's ever been.  Given that CS 125 was supposed to draw some students from 121, that's even more amazing.  

And the standard CS introductory course, CS 50, has over 800 undergraduates (and over 850 total) signed up, making it now the largest class at Harvard.  This was so noteworthy that the Crimson had an article this morning about it.  As usual, you can find a great quote from Harry Lewis: 
“Harvard students are smart people,” said Harry R. Lewis ’68, former dean of the College and current director of undergraduate studies for Computer Science. “They have figured out that in pretty much every area of study, computational methods and computational thinking are going to be important to the future.”
So the growth continues, at least for another year.


Anonymous said...

Does that mean more jobs for theorists?

Anonymous said...

Are you planning to upload lecture notes and problem sets on some webpage?

Luca Aceto said...


These are very impressive figures! How will CS 50 be taught? Do you have a lecture theatre that can hold more than 800 people? How many lecturers and TAs will be involved in the course?

I am asking because we have had more than 300 first year students for three years in a row and some courses have had more than 400 enrolled students. Those courses are very demanding for one lecturer and a handful of TAs.

Thanks for sharing,