Math 55 - Discrete Mathematics - Spring 2014

Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30-5:00pm, 100 Lewis

Professor: L. Williams (office 913 Evans, e-mail

Office Hours during the week of May 12 (finals week): Tues 1:15-3pm in 939 Evans, and Thurs 3 - 5pm in 939 Evans.

Shelly's office hours (1047 Evans): Thurs 1-2pm and Fri 3-5pm during RRR week, plus Tues 3-4 during finals week.

Peter's office hours (937 Evans): Tues 5-6pm and Thurs 1:30-2:30pm during RRR week; Tues 5-7pm and Thurs 1:30-3:30pm during finals week.

Ed's office hours (853 Evans): Mon 11am-12pm and Tues 10am-12pm and Fri 2-4pm during RRR week, plus Mon 10-12pm during finals week.

Dan's office hours (1093 Evans): Thurs 11:30am-1pm during RRR week; Wed 12-2pm and Fri 2-4pm during finals week.

Teaching assistants:

Course control number: 54006

For extra help: check out the Student Learning Center.

Final Exam: Friday, May 16, 7-10pm, in 100 Lewis.

Course description

This course provides an introduction to logic and proof techniques, basics of set theory, elementary number theory and cryptography, combinatorial enumeration, discrete probability, and graph theory, with a view towards applications. It is designed for majors in mathematics, computer science, statistics, and other related science and engineering disciplines.


Required text: information can be found here. This is a custom edition of the 7th edition of the textbook Discrete Mathematics and its Applications, by Kenneth H. Rosen, McGraw-Hill. (More specifically, it is identical to the 7th edition except a few chapters are missing; as a result, it is somewhat less expensive than the full-length version.)

Some students have asked me if they can use the 6th edition of the textbook instead. The 6th and 7th editions of Rosen are quite similar, but the order of presentation of topics is slightly different. I will be assigning a number of problems out of the book, so if you have the 6th edition of the textbook, you'll have to look at the 7th edition in order to find out what problems to do.

Problem Sets

Homework will be assigned weekly. About twenty problems covering the lecture material of each week will be due at the beginning of your section on Wednesday of the following week. No late homework can be accepted. Your TA will verify that you are working the assigned problems, but only one or two of the problems (marked after the due date by a star) is fully graded. Homework solutions will be posted on bspace on the respective due date.

All solutions that you submit must be your own work and must not be copied from somewhere else. A solution that is blatantly copied from another source will receive zero credit. There will be serious consequences for repeat offenders. You ARE are allowed to discuss the homework problems with other students, but if you do this, you must list at the top of your homework the names of any collaborators. If you used sources besides the textbook, you must list those as well.


There will be two in-class midterms, on Thursday, February 20, and on Thursday, April 3. A review session will be held during the class preceding the midterm. *No books, notes, calculators, scratch paper or collaboration are permitted at any exam*. Your student photo ID is required at the midterms and final exam. No make-up midterms will be given; instead, missing midterm scores will be overridden by the final exam score.


The final exam will be on Friday, May 16, 7-10pm. Note that there are no makeups for the final exam.


Homework 15%, Midterms 25% each, Final 35%. Your lowest two homework scores will be dropped, and the final exam score will override any lower midterm score. This means that, a posteriori, your final exam may count as 60% or 85% instead of 35%. Incomplete grades are rarely given, and only for a documented serious medical problem or genuine personal/family emergency, provided you have a C average on the previous coursework.

According to the College academic calendar, the last day to add or drop this course is Friday, February 21, the day after the first midterm. The last day to change your grading option is April 4, the day after the second midterm.