CS311 - Discrete Math for Computer Science: Spring 2014

Home Syllabus Schedule

Course Information

Unique Numbers: 53520, 53525, 53530, 53535, 53540, 53545
Instructor: Jacob Schrum
Instructor's E-mail: schrum2@cs.utexas.edu
Instructor's Office Hours: T 2:30pm-3:30pm in GDC 1.302 Desk 1
W 12:00pm-1:00pm in GDC 1.302 Desk 1
Class Times:TTh 3:30pm-5:00pm
Location: GDC 2.216
Discussion Sections: 53520 F 9:00am-10:00am in GDC 6.202 (Xinyu)
53525 F 10:00am-11:00am in GDC 6.202 (Kai-Yang)
53530 F 11:00am-12:00pm in GDC 6.202 (Lloyd)
53535 F 12:00pm-1:00pm in GDC 4.302 (Sai)
53540 F 1:00pm-2:00pm in GDC 5.302 (Kai-Yang)
53545 F 2:00pm-3:00pm in GDC 6.202 (Xinyu)
Dates:January 14th - May 1st
Semester:Spring 2014
TA: Kai-Yang Chiang
TA's E-mail: kychiang@cs.utexas.edu
TA's Office Hours: Th 2:30pm-3:30pm in GDC 1.302 Desk 2
F 11:00am-12:00pm in GDC 1.302 Desk 2
TA: Xinyu Wang
TA's E-mail: xinyuwangsd@gmail.com
TA's Office Hours: M 6:00pm-7:00pm in GDC 1.302 Desk 1
F 3:00pm-4:00pm in GDC 1.302 Desk 1
Proctor: Sai Avala
Proctor's E-mail: sai.avala@utexas.edu
Proctor's Office Hours: M 2:00pm-3:30pm in GDC 1.302 Desk 4
Proctor: Lloyd Cunningham
Proctor's E-mail: lloyd.cunningham@utexas.edu
Proctor's Office Hours: MW 11:00am-12:00pm in GDC 3.302 3rd Floor Lab

Course Objectives

This course presents important concepts in Discrete Mathematics that are relevant to Computer Science. Of key importance is the concept of mathematical proof, which will be used in many ways. Formal proofs allow us to know with certainty that a given mathematical fact is true.

More specifically, the course will cover these topics:
  • Propositional and Predicate Logic
    • Satisfiability
  • Mathematical proof techniques
    • Direct Proof
    • Indirect Proof
    • Proof by Contradiction
    • Existence Proof
    • Mathematical Induction
  • Graph Theory
  • Sets
  • Functions
  • Recurrences
  • Run-time Analysis
    • Big-O Notation
    • Master Theorem


For computer science majors, the following coursework with a grade of at least C-: Computer Science 312 or 312H, and 315 or 315H; Mathematics 408C, 408K, and 408N, or registration for Mathematics 408C; for others, consent of instructor.



The course textbook is Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications
By Kenneth H. Rosen
Published by McGraw Hill..
We are using the 7th edition. This is important for correctly identifying homework problems.

The book will be primarily used as a source for homework problems, but it also serves as a useful reference to compliment the content in the online video lectures, which are the primary source of content for the course.


Quest is an online tool designed to provide online lectures, and assessment via short quizzes taken after watching the video lectures. You will be required to watch the posted lectures and take the associated quizzes before nearly every class. You should be able to answer the quiz questions based solely on the lecture content. You will also be expected to come to class with knowledge of the lecture content, so that we can use the class time to work on solving problems. Though some lecturing will occur in class, most of the time will be spent working problems in groups. If you have questions about the video lectures, come to class prepared to ask them.

Use of Quest requires payment of a small fee. Be sure to pay this fee in a timely manner, or your access to course content will be blocked.


We will use Piazza for class discussion. The system is highly catered to getting you help fast and efficiently from classmates and the teaching staff. Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, I encourage you to post your questions on Piazza. If you are struggling, then you should be asking questions. If you are understanding things just fine, then you should be helping others. Find our class page here.


Grading is a harsh reality of academic life. Though grading creates work for us and stress for you, it is necessary to assure that the degree you eventually attain has the value it deserves. The grading system in this class is designed to be fair to everyone in the class, and to be as true a measure as possible of what each individual student knows about the class material.

All grades will be accessible via Blackboard. Your final grade will be computed as follows:
Exam 1: 20% 2/25 in class
Exam 2: 20% 4/8 in class
Final: 30% 5/7, 2:00-5:00 pm in UTC 2.102A
Homework Assignments: 10%  
Pop Quizzes: 10%  
Quest Modules: 10%  
The exams and final are cumulative. The exam dates given above are tentative and may be changed. The resulting percentages will be rounded up and used to assign your final grade in the course according to the following scale:
A (4.0) 92-100
A- (3.67) 90-91
B+ (3.33) 86-89
B (3.0) 82-85
B- (2.67) 80-81
C+ (2.33) 76-79
C (2.0) 72-75
C- (1.67) 70-71
D+ (1.33) 66-69
D (1.0) 62-65
D- (0.67) 60-61
F (0.0) 0-59
Homework assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date. Be prepared to turn in homework as you walk into the classroom. Assignments turned in during the class will still be accepted at a penalty: 10% of the points earned will be deducted. Homework assignments will NOT be accepted after the class in which they are due. Attend class on time and turn in your assignments on time if you want to get credit.

Additionally, homework assignments will be returned in discussion sections. If you miss discussion sections, you will need to pick up your graded homework from TAs or proctors in office hours, at which point it will be your responsibility to find out which member of the teaching staff is actually holding on to your graded assignment.

Lastly, homework solutions will be covered in discussion sections, and occasionally in class. Print-outs with answers will not be given. If you miss the class or discussion section where answers are covered, it is your responsibility to visit a member of the teaching staff during office hours to find out the solutions to any problems you missed.

Pop Quizzes:
Surprise quizzes can be given unannounced either during class or in discussion sections, which is yet another reason to attend both on time. These quizzes may be challenging, but will usually be based on something we have recently covered in class, or in a video module. You should attend class able to recreate the proofs that you have seen in the video modules.

No late or makeup quizzes will be given. However, if you have a valid justification for missing class that day, we will arrange for missed quiz grades to be replaced by a re-scaled exam score. The details of how this is done are up to our discretion. For a surprise medical emergency, a doctor's note or other form of proof is needed. For any planned absence, you must notify the teaching staff at least a week in advance. If you don't bother telling us about your planned absence until after you find out you missed a quiz, then you will receive a zero on that quiz. The rules for justified quizz absences are the same as for exam absences, which are explained next.

A missed test without a verifiable emergency, medical issue, religious observance, or participation in a varsity sporting event provided to the instructor will count as a zero. Emergency excuses can be provided after the test. All other excuses must be provided one week before the test, in which case a special test session will be scheduled for you. For exams, emergency situations may result in a makeup test, or in having your final exam grade as your missed exam grade, at the discretion of the instructor. A missed final exam with an emergency excuse will require a makeup test.

As with homework assignments, tests will be returned in discussion sections, and solutions will be covered in discussion sections. If you do not attend the discussion section when your test is returned, then you must find out which member of the teaching staff has your graded test and pick it up in office hours.

Quest Modules
You must view each Quest Module and complete the associated quiz before the deadline listed in Quest (generally by noon on the day we will cover the material in class). You can view the modules and take the quizzes as soon as they are posted if you prefer to work ahead. Once the due deadline for the module quiz has passed, you will be able to return to Quest and review your answers, with additional commentary provided to explain the answers.

Take the quizzes seriously. Your 3 lowest quiz grades will be dropped.

In order for this grading system to work fairly for everyone, we need a few additional ground rules:
  • Assigned grades are not the starting point of a negotiation. Unless we have made a specific mistake in grading your work (meaning you have a correct answer that was marked wrong or your score was added incorrectly), your grade is final.
  • If we have made a mistake, then you must submit a description of the problem in writing in email to the teaching staff within one week after we return the graded work to the class. All evidence and supporting arguments must be included in this email, and the assignment, quiz or exam must be promptly returned to the grader.
Note that none of the following grade discussions is appropriate:
  • "I know my answer was wrong, but I deserve more partial credit points." When we grade, we make decisions about how many points to give for various kinds of wrong answers. This is never a clear cut decision. The important thing is that we make some decision and then implement it fairly for everyone. It is completely unfair to come back later and give one person more points just because they ask. We won't do it.
  • "I don't like my final grade. It will ruin my life for the following reason: ... Therefore you should give me a better one." Class grades reflect only one thing: how well you did in the class. Life circumstances just don't play a role here. Don't come to me with this kind of argument.
  • "I don't like my final grade. I am desperate. Isn't there some sort of extra credit thing I could do?" Any answer other than "No" to this question would be completely unfair to other students in the class unless they were all offered this option. That would be equivalent to saying that the semester isn't over and everyone can keep trying. We're not going to do this. Final grades are final.
  • "I don't like my final grade. Can I have an incomplete and try again?" There are University rules for giving incompletes. If you meet those rules (e.g. you had a medical problem during the semester), then, of course, come and tell me and ask for an incomplete. But make sure you do it as soon as you can. Do not wait until the semester is over. If you do not meet the rules, the answer is "No."
  • "I don't like my final grade. It doesn't reflect what I really know. I guess I didn't show what I know on the exams, but won't you give me a chance to convince you that I really know this stuff." Again, any answer other than "No" would be unfair to everyone else.
Some of the comments above are based on the computer science department's code of conduct.


Do not bring laptops or tablets to class. They are a distraction to you and the students around you, and will not be necessary for this class.

Academic Honesty

This class follows the University's standard policies on academic honesty. They will be rigorously enforced. Cheating will result in action commensurate with the policies stated in the University's Manual on Academic Honesty. At the very least cheating will lead to an automatic F in the class and a referral of the case to the Dean of Students Office. Additional penalties, including suspension or expulsion from the University, may be imposed by that office.

However, you may work in groups of up to three on the homework, but you must write up the solutions to the homeworks yourself. Despite this, students may not acquire from any other source (e.g. book, or an internet site) a partial or complete solution to a problem that has been assigned.


The content for this course is primarily taken from Adam Klivan's version of the course, the website for which is here.