CS 311H: Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science (Honors)

Fall 2019

What do detective work, space exploration, and throwing parties have in common? Find out in this class!

elcome to your first formal math class! Everyone deserves to learn computer science in an unbiased, inclusive environment. This course strives to provide that experience.

Try to keep a growth mindset while learning computer science. Computer science is something you do, not who you are. As Marissa Mayer said, "I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that's how you grow. When... I'm not really sure I can do this... you push through... that's when you have a breakthrough." "You can be good at technology and like fashion and art. You can be good at technology and be [an athlete]. You can be good at technology and be [a parent]. You can do it your way, on your terms."


Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Prove first-order logic statements using nine proof strategies and twelve inference rules.
  2. Explain how sets and functions form the basis for conventional mathematics and its limits: paradoxes, undecidability, and uncountability.
  3. Understand how cryptographic algorithms are derived from number theory.
  4. Calculate the number of permutations or combinations possible in scenarios with or without repetitions.
  5. Prove relationships between graph topology and geometry.
  6. Describe and prove bounds on the time complexity of the Binary Search and Merge Sort algorithms.

Teaching Staff

Instructor: Chand John

See Canvas for office hour locations and TA information.


This course is based on Dr. Işil Dillig's CS 311H Fall 2018 course.


No textbook is required for this class, but an optional textbook available at the Co-op is Kenneth H. Rosen's Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications, 7th edition.

The book will have topics and problems not covered in our course, so buy the book if you'd like additional practice or access to material not covered in this course. See Dr. Işil Dillig's CS 311H Fall 2018 syllabus to get a rough idea of how the topics match up with sections of the textbook. Just be aware that the order in which we cover topics will be a bit different from that course.

Session Times

LecturesFriday Section
TTh 2-3:30pmRLP 1.102501563-4pm GDC 6.202


Our schedule may vary during the semester, but here's the plan:

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri

Day 1
Propositional Logic
9/2 (NO CLASS)


Day 2
Propositional Logic Inference Rules

Day 3
Propositional Logic Proofs

Quiz 1 (15 pts)

Day 4
Manipulating Propositional Formulas

Day 5
First-Order Logic

Quiz 2 (20 pts)

Day 6
First-Order Logic Inference Rules
9/19 (NO CLASS)

Technology & Science Career Fair
1-5pm @ Frank Erwin Center

Quiz 3 (15 pts)

Day 7
First-Order Logic Proofs

Day 8
Set Theory

Quiz 4 (20 pts)

Day 9
Relations & Functions

Day 10
Sets & Functions Practice

Quiz 5 (20 pts)

Day 11

Day 12
Divisibility & Cryptography

Quiz 6 (15 pts)

Day 13
Introduction to Combinatorics

Day 14
Permutations & Combinations 1

Quiz 7 (15 pts)

Day 15
Permutations & Combinations 2

Day 16
Introduction to Graph Theory

Quiz 8 (20 pts)

Day 17
Graph Colorability

Day 18
Trees, Planar Graphs, & Euler's Formula

Quiz 9 (15 pts)

Day 19
Graphs & Trees Practice

Day 20
Function Growth: Big-O, Big-Omega, Big-Theta

Quiz 10 (20 pts)

Day 21
Big-O & Mathematical Induction

Day 22
Time Bounds on Binary Search & Merge Sort

Quiz 11 (20 pts)

Day 23
The Master Theorem

Day 24
Recursive Definitions & Structural Induction

Quiz 12 (20 pts)




Day 25
Recurrence Relations

Day 26

Review & Survey

Quiz 13 (20 pts)


A grade is where you are (on the learning journey), not who you are.

Your entire grade will consist of quizzes given during Friday discussion sections. Ungraded practice and homework problems with solutions will be given to help prepare for the quizzes. It is your responsibility to make sure you understand the solutions to all homework and practice problems given to you throughout the semester. The points earned in each quiz are shown in the above schedule. The philosophy behind this testing approach is to have frequent, low-stakes quizzing rather than occasional, high-stakes testing to give you more frequent practice recalling and applying information, which is shown by research studies to improve learning outcomes, and may help to reduce test anxiety.

To calculate your final course grade, we'll drop your lowest 15-point quiz grade and your lowest 20-point quiz grade. Since the quizzes add up to a total of 235 points, this will result in a grade out of 200 points. The intention here is to give you some flexibility in case you miss a quiz or simply are having a bad day and are unable to do your best work on a quiz a couple of times during the semester.

Out of 100% (200 points), grades will be assigned using a plus/minus system:

%Letter Grade
≥ 93     A
≥ 90 and < 93     A-
≥ 87 and < 90     B+
≥ 83 and < 87     B
≥ 80 and < 83     B-
≥ 77 and < 80     C+
≥ 73 and < 77     C
≥ 70 and < 73     C-
≥ 67 and < 70     D+
≥ 63 and < 67     D
≥ 60 and < 63     D-
< 60     F

Pay close attention to the equals symbols above. For example, earning a final grade of 93% will lead to a letter grade of A, while earning a final grade of 92.99999999999999999999999% will lead to a letter grade of A-. All requests to round grades up will be denied.

The intention of the following policies is to level the playing field for students experiencing any life challenges that interfere with their ability to engage with coursework and level the playing field among all students, while also ensuring that cheating or other misuse of any accommodations are penalized.

If you anticipate missing a quiz due to an illness, emergency, or travel related to your coursework, please contact the instructor as early as possible. Leisure travel or simply skipping class, even if it is because you have a large workload that day, is not considered an excusable absence and will result in you getting a grade of zero for that quiz. You must provide documentation indicating why you will miss the quiz. If your absence is excused by the instructor (the TA will not be allowed to excuse your absence!), the instructor reserves the right to simply remove the missed quiz from your point total and scale up the remaining quizzes to make up the difference via a reasonable calculation that will be communicated to the student, while refusing to schedule a make-up quiz, or, to choose to schedule a make-up quiz for you. If you fail to communicate with the instructor about missing a quiz before the quiz or within 3 days of when you are physically able to inform the instructor, you will be assigned a grade of zero for that quiz. If you are found to have cheated on a quiz, you will be assigned a grade of zero on that quiz, if not just completely failed out of the class for the semester. See the detailed cheating policy below.


Staying in Touch

The class will be using Canvas. Announcements, assignments, and course materials will be posted there frequently. You're responsible for visiting the site frequently to stay up to date.

Anonymous Feedback

If you have any concerns or feedback for the instructor, you may provide anonymous feedback.

University Resources

Mental Health

Student Emergency Services

Technology help

If you have concerns about the safety or behavior of fellow students, TAs, or professors, call BCAL (the Behavior Concerns Advice Line): 512-232-5050. Your call can be anonymous. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Trust your instincts and share your concerns.


Professional, mutually respectful, and courteous conduct is expected from all students and teaching staff.

Here are the policies of the UT Computer Science Department and this class.

You must abide by UT's student conduct and academic integrity policies. Assignments must be done individually, except when group work has been approved. If you cheat, you fail.

Inclusive Behavior

Non-inclusive behavior goes completely against the expectations of this class and could be subject to grade penalties at the instructor's sole discretion. Many types of non-inclusive behavior go against university policy and could be subject to additional penalties from the university.

Religious Holy Days

UT-Austin requires you to notify the instructor 14 days before an absence due to observance of a religious holy day. The instructor will allow you to complete any missed work.

Q Drop Policy

If you want to drop a class after the 12th class day, you can Q drop before the Q-drop deadline. Texas law allows you at most six Q drops while you are in college in any public Texas institution.

Student Accommodations

Students with a documented disability may request appropriate academic accommodations.

You must inform the instructor of any accommodations you may need during the first two weeks of the semester to receive appropriate accommodations. If at any time the class or physical spaces are not fully accessible to you, please let the instructor know. If any accommodations become necessary at any time during the semester, please contact the instructor as soon as possible with a letter from the SSD office to give the teaching staff ample time to try to make appropriate accommodations. Last-minute accommodation requests will be denied.

Academic Integrity

The temptation to cheat: If you're thinking about cheating, just don't. It's better to get a zero on a quiz than to cheat. A single instance of cheating will lead to a reduction of your final course grade to F (failing). If you cheat more than once in this class and/or any other classes, you are likely to get suspended from UT for one or multiple semesters. Please reach out to the instructor if you are tempted to cheat, which can happen if you're feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities. Penalties are ultimately determined by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity and thus may not be limited to what is mentioned here.

Purpose of this policy: The goal of this policy is to protect the students who are doing honest work by severely penalizing those who choose to violate the rules of academic integrity. Penalties will only be handed out in cases where the instructor deems that there is significant reason to suspect dishonesty; the instructor does understand that just because two students had similar answers, doesn't mean they cheated. If you've been honest, you have nothing to worry about; however, everyone is responsible for understanding the policy below.

Penalties: Students found to have committed any form of academic dishonesty will be given an automatic final course grade of F (failing) on their transcript for the semester in which they committed that instance of academic dishonesty. In addition, the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity might suspend or expel a student based on the severity of their dishonesty or the number of times they have been caught cheating at UT. Grade penalties are to be recommended by the instructor and enforced by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, but penalties related to academic status such as suspension or expulsion are decided solely by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity and thus the penalties for cheating may not be limited to those mentioned here.

How harsh is the cheating policy in this class? This policy is harsh. Once you have cheated, you have crossed into risky territory. Don't expect any special favors or sympathy if you cheat. This harshness is not meant to be mean or strict; it is to be precise and protect the teaching staff's time in support of all the students who are being honest, and prevent the academic dishonesty prosecution process from hijacking and destroying the teaching and learning process for the vast majority of students who don't cheat. The policy is also strict because it needs to be specific and clear; otherwise, a student who cheats may not even get penalized for cheating because the Dean's Office will say the syllabus isn't clear; if you're a student who put in long hours of honest work, how would you feel about a student getting away with cheating in that way?

Zero tolerance for stalling or manipulation: The instructor will not tolerate any efforts on the student's part to stall or delay the process of prosecuting academic dishonesty cases. The instructor will not tolerate any student's efforts to manipulate, bribe, or lie their way out of penalties due to academic dishonesty. While typically the instructor will try to accommodate one meeting with any student accused of academic dishonesty, the instructor reserves the right to refuse to meet with any student accused of academic dishonesty and instead communicate with the student via email or Canvas messages, especially if the number of students suspected of cheating exceeds one.

What is considered cheating? While you're welcome to discuss homework assignments with each other, the solutions you write up for quizzes must be your own. The moment you look at someone else's solution, or show someone else even one letter or number of a solution, you have crossed the line into cheating and are subject to possible academic penalties including a failing grade in this course for the semester, or suspension or expulsion as determined by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. Copying solutions found online is also considered cheating. If you post quiz solutions online, you could be subject to academic penalties including suspension and expulsion, even if your solutions are only found online after the semester is over. You're always welcome to contact the instructor if you're not sure whether a particular action is considered dishonest; the instructor will NOT penalize you for asking questions. On a quiz, looking at someone else's answers or talking to any fellow student can be considered cheating at the discretion of the teaching staff. Also, you are expected to take reasonable measures to protect your work from unauthorized access by others, including your electronic files, print-outs, and written work.

The process: Academic dishonesty will be handled as follows:

  1. A member of the teaching staff suspects a student cheated in some way.
  2. The instructor contacts the student via email or Canvas message.
  3. The teaching staff gives the student 7 calendar days to do ALL of the following: (1) optionally meet with an academic conduct officer to discuss your options (2) respond to the instructor via email or Canvas message to explain what happened, (3) MAKE A DECISION and communicate to the instructor whether you want to sign the academic disposition form to admit to cheating and resolve the issue between us (it will go on your academic record, but usually not on your transcript (don't take my word for it; check with the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity for confirmation and additional details), as a flag against your record at the very least), or to have the case handled entirely by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, and (4) actually sign the form if you choose to do so. ALL of this must happen within the 7-day period from the exact timestamp of the first message sent by the instructor informing you that you were suspected of academic dishonesty. The 7-day period includes holidays and weekends, so don't think that holidays will give you extra time to deal with this. The instructor prefers that you sign the document electronically to save paper and time. Being busy, such as with multiple exams or projects, also doesn't excuse you from this 7-day period.
  4. The Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity will confirm the final penalties and the instructor will enact any of those penalties in accordance with the Office's decision.
The instructor reserves the right to refuse to meet with any student suspected of academic dishonesty. Those meetings are frequently used by students to try to manipulate the instructor into reducing penalties; if the instructor gets even a vague feeling that you are trying to do this, at the instructor's sole discretion, and at any time with or without warning, you will have forfeited the right to signing the academic disposition form; the instructor will promptly ask you to leave if you are trying to manipulate, bribe, or lie your way out of academic penalties, and you will default to having your case handled entirely by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.

The academic disposition form is usually an easier way to settle dishonesty cases; if it's the only time you cheat at UT, it gives you a warning and a flag on your academic record and likely a failing grade for the class, BUT, it should have no further direct effect on your transcript; however, if you go through the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, the process typically results in a hearing where all the evidence is assembled and you and the instructor will be questioned about the evidence; once the case is in the Office's hands, the instructor can make no guarantees on how severe the penalties may end up being.

Children in Class

(This policy is adapted from Dr. Alison Norman's classes, whose policy in turn is based on that by Dr. Melissa Cheyney at Oregon State University.) Please contact the instructor within the first two weeks of class to discuss any accommodations you need or constraints you face due to being a student-parent. The instructor is well aware that parents can face many unique challenges including feeding children, managing breastmilk or formula, dealing with illnesses, and covering gaps in childcare. The instructor does have to ensure that any children brought to class are not disruptive to the rest of the class and thus may have to place constraints on the extent to which children may be in attendance with their student-parent(s) in class, but under various circumstances, and at the instructor's sole discretion, children may be brought to class to ease the student-parent's concerns in balancing school/work and parenting. I also ask that all students work with me to create a welcoming environment for all forms of diversity including diversity in parenting status. I do ask that non-parents cooperate with me to reserve seats near the door(s) for your parent classmates. Don't hesitate to contact the instructor about any concerns regarding school-parenting balance at anytime throughout the semester.


Campus Safety

Emergency Preparedness

Familiarize yourself with all exit doors of each classroom. The nearest exit door may not be the door you used for entry. Students requiring assistance shall inform the instructor in writing during the first week of class.