Several of you have asked for help in learning how to read papers. Here are links to several pages that talk about this. The last is from a biochem perspective instead of CS, so some of it is irrelevant to us; I include it mainly because the "Evaluating a paper" section suggests some good questions to consider while reading.
In addition, here are several additional hints specific to reading papers that present algorithms:
Make sure you understand the inputs and outputs of each algorithm (ie, if we asked you to code them up, what types of inputs and outputs would they have).
Work through each algorithm by hand on a small example. This will force you to understand the algorithm, and will help point to questions (why the algorithm does something a particular way, etc).
Ask yourself how the new algorithm relates to the others we've seen. Does it solve a new problem? Is it a better solution to an old problem? Does the input/output of this algorithm connect to the input/output of another algorithm?