Please feel free to come by my office any time during scheduled
You are welcome to
come at other times, but in that case you might want to make
an appointment, just to make sure that I will be there then. You can
make an appointment simply by talking to me before or after class, by
calling me at
or at home, or by sending
You may also ask any questions directly via phone or e-mail. If I'm
not in when you call, please leave a message on the voice-mail or
answering machine with your name, number, and a good time for me to
call you back. I will try to respond to your phone or e-mail message
as soon as possible.
Upon successful completion of the course, you will know and be able
to use the basic algebra of sets and of logic. You will be able to
identify and use common classes of relations. You will know basic
properties of arbitrary functions. You will be able to solve counting
problems involving combinations and permutations, including counting
problems with restrictions. You will know the basic definitions and
theorems of graph theory, and be able to apply them to specific
graphs. You will know the basic algorithms for traversing trees, and
be able to apply them to specific trees.
Note that this class will probably be quite different from other math
classes you have taken, in at least two important ways. First, in
contrast to calculus and related courses, the objects under
consideration are (as the course title suggests) discrete, not
continuous. This has the advantage that you can often explicitly list
all the pieces (try listing all the function values of a continuous
function!), but the disadvantage of not having continuity to "tie"
things together nicely. Second, although there is still a lot of
problem-solving, the problems and their answers have a very different
flavor: the problems are not equations to be solved, and the answers
often aren't even numbers. We also may spend more time explaining why
a particular solution works than in finding the solution.
Discrete Mathematics, 4th ed., Dossey,
et. al., Chs. 2, 4, 5, 8, Appendix A.
We will skip some sections, as announced in class.
The textbook is required at all class meetings.
Read each section that we cover in class, both before and after class.
Skim the section before class, even if you don't understand it fully,
to have some idea of what we'll be doing in class. Read it more
carefully after class to clarify and fill in details you missed in
Sometimes, I will not "cover" all the material from a section, but
instead focus on a particular aspect of the section. In such cases, I
will point out in class (and at this
website) which other
parts of the section I expect you to read on your own.
- Quizzes (15%):
Suggested homework problems will be assigned most class days and will
generally be discussed at the next class.
There will be approximately weekly quizzes, with problems taken from
the homework. Quizzes are closed-book, closed-notes. Missed quizzes
cannot be made up, but your two lowest quiz scores will be
It is very important that you do your homework before it is discussed
in class. You will only learn the material by doing it yourself, not
by watching others do it for you.
- Tests (15% each):
There will be three in-class exams on the following days:
Makeup tests can be given only in extraordinary and unavoidable
circumstances, and with advance notice. (See also "Exception"
- Ch. 2: Thu. 28 Sep.
- Ch. 8: Thu. 19 Oct.
- Chs. 4,5: Tue. 16 Nov.
- Final (40%)
- comprehensive (including Appendix A)
Thu. 7 Dec., 10:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
- Your final exam score will be used in place of your lowest
in-class exam score, if this increases your overall class average. In
particular, if you miss a test, your final exam score will replace it.
I strongly encourage you to attend every class, though there is no
particular grade penalty for absences. My goal is for class meetings and
activities to complement, rather than echo, the textbook, and thus for
every class to be worth attending.
The deadline for student-initiated drops with a W is Fri., 27 Oct. After
this date, you can only drop with the Dean's approval, which is granted
only under extenuating circumstances.
I hope everyone will complete the course successfully, but if you are
having doubts about your progress, I will be happy to discuss your
standing in the course to help you decide whether or not to drop.
You are only allowed three enrollments in this
course, so please exercise the drop option judiciously.