Foundations of Logical Thought
CS 301k

Dr. Mary Eberlein
Department of Computer Science
The University of Texas at Austin

Who Am I?

    • Undergrad: math major at Univ of South Alabama
    • Math grad school: MS, Univ of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
    • CS grad school: PhD, University of Tennessee

  • Family
    • Married with two children, two dogs and a cat

  • Professional
    • Taught at Tennessee Technological University for a year after graduation from the other UT
    • Worked at small software engineering company in Knoxville for several years
    • Lecturer at UT-Austin since 2000

How to Succeed in CS 313k

"I would like to offer some advice about how you can best learn [this subject]. You will learn the most by actively working exercises. I suggest that you solve as manyas you possibly can. After working the exercises your instructor has assigned, I encourage you to solve additional exercises..."
-- Kenneth H. Rosen, in foreword of his textbook Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications

"The key question to keep asking is: Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have."

-- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

  • Do the exercises, rework the examples and take your own notes
    • You cannot learn to write proofs and understand sets and relations by just listening in class and reading the text!
    • Don't just look at the exercises - do them.
    • You learn by doing.
  • Ask for help:
    •  instructor, TAs, proctor
    • other students (not on homework assignments!)
  • Re-work in-class examples on your own.
    • Experiment. Try a different proof technique and see what happens.
  • Come to Class. Pay Attention. Participate.
  • Study regularly - most will need to invest at least 6-10 hours a week outside of class.
  • Do the reading assignments. 
  • Start homework assignments early - most of your learning comes from working on the homework and other exercises.
  • Do the practice problems. Complete your discussion assignment before your discussion section meeting.
  • Get to know your classmates. Talk to them about the course material and study with them.
  • Come to office hours.

CS 301k: A First Theory Course for CS Majors
What Do We Cover?

  •  Problem-solving and thinking abstractly
  •  Fundamentals for computer science theory
    • Mathematical proof techniques
      • direct proof
      • indirect proof
      • proof by contradiction
      • existence proof
      • mathematical induction
    • Propositional and predicate logic
    • Sets
    • Relations
    • Functions

CS 301k Prerequisites

  • I assume that you are comfortable with mathematical definitions like those you have seen in calculus (e.g., limit of a function) and mathematical basics (e.g., factoring, definition of factorial, rules of exponentiation)
  • I assume that you have NEVER written a proof

Course Materials and Procedures

  • This is very important!
  • If this is your first semester or year in college, you may be surprised at how much responsibility is placed on you for knowing what to do in a class.
  • Read the information on the course webpage and the syllabus  carefully, so that you know what is expected in this class.

  • website
    • most class materials are on website: class schedule, assignments, study materials, link to discussion board
  • schedule
    • schedule of class topics
    • reading assignments
    • links to in-class slides
    • discussion meeting assignments
  • syllabus
    • very important
    • like a contract between instructor and students
    • class policies
  • textbook
    • required
    • reading assignments and practice problems
  • lecture
    • MWF with instructor
    • Introduce topics, examples, Q&A
    • NO laptops or phones out during lecture
  • discussion section
    • with teaching assistant on Thursdays
    • Q&A on assignments
    • practice problems
    • quizzes very likely
  • discussion board
    • piazza
    • post questions about class procedures and material
    • answer classmates' questions
    • announcements from me
    • NO homework solutions or partial solutions are allowed on board
    • NO discussion assignment solutions on the board
  • homework assignments
    • homework assignments posted on the course webpage
    • typically an assignment is due every week
    • done individually
    • homework assignments must be done alone
      • Sharing solutions is cheating --> F in course
    • graded by TA or proctor
    • scores posted on blackboard
  • discussion assignments
    • discussion assignments are due at the beginning of your Thursday discussion section
    • sometimes collected and graded as a take-home quiz
  • exams
    • two midterms and a final exam
    • study materials and old exams posted on class webpage
    • scores posted on blackboard