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.

From the lesson

NP-complete Problems

Although many of the algorithms you've learned so far are applied in practice a lot, it turns out that the world is dominated by real-world problems without a known provably efficient algorithm. Many of these problems can be reduced to one of the classical problems called NP-complete problems which either cannot be solved by a polynomial algorithm or solving any one of them would win you a million dollars (see Millenium Prize Problems) and eternal worldwide fame for solving the main problem of computer science called P vs NP. It's good to know this before trying to solve a problem before the tomorrow's deadline :) Although these problems are very unlikely to be solvable efficiently in the nearest future, people always come up with various workarounds. In this module you will study the classical NP-complete problems and the reductions between them. You will also practice solving large instances of some of these problems despite their hardness using very efficient specialized software based on tons of research in the area of NP-complete problems.