Table of contents

  1. Course Info
  2. Realistic Prerequisites
  3. Subject Matter
  4. Course Staff
  5. Lectures
  6. Problem Sets
  7. Exams
  8. Resources
  9. Grading
  10. Advice to Future Students
  11. Syllabus

Course Info

Class Size 25
Hours/Week 7.6 (12 responses)
Instructors Dor Minzer (Lecturer)
# of Responses to Course 18 Underground Questions 6/25

Realistic Prerequisites

  • Experience with combinatorics and understanding of Fourier analysis and probability is essential.
  • Mathematical maturity: being comfortable with research-level math is helpful.

Subject Matter

  • The class is mostly theoretical and specialized, although it could be applicable to CS.

Course Staff

  • Approachable, knowledgeable, and patient.
  • The professor was exceptional when explaining a project, and the lectures are engaging.


  • The lectures followed the lecture notes closely.
  • Some thought the lecture was nicely-paced, while others thought it went fast.

Problem Sets

  • Relevant, fun, and required creativity.
  • There were “normal” and “challenge” problems; doing the normal problems were sufficient for an A-.
  • Lectures sufficiently prepared students for the psets.


  • There were no exams.


  • The class was loosely based on the textbook O’Donnell.
  • The online set of notes were much more helpful.


  • Half the grade was based on the final project and the other half was based on problem sets.
  • It’s not too difficult to get an A- on the problem set portion.
  • The expectations for the final project were vague.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “Check your LaTeX so you don’t get points taken off”
  2. “This class changes from year to year, so I don’t think my experiences are applicable anyways.”


There was no syllabus for the course; however, the following is a description of the topics course for this semester.

We will talk about Fourier analysis of Boolean functions, which is a useful tool in theoretical computer science, combinaorics and more. We will start with basic concepts, such as influences, noise sensitivity, and hypercontractivitiy and some basic results in the area.

Depending on time, we will also discuss applications in fields such as hardness of approximation and extremal combinatorics, as well as more recent developments.

Most of the course will be based on a book by Ryan O’Donnell, which is available at amazon but also has a free online version at Ryan O’Donnel’s website.