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MATH 15A WI20 (Swanson)


INSTRUCTOR:   Josh Swanson

COURSE TITLE:   Introduction to Discrete Mathematics

COURSE DESCRIPTION:   Basic discrete mathematical structure: sets, relations, functions, sequences, equivalence relations, partial orders, and number systems. Methods of reasoning and proofs: propositional logic, predicate logic, induction, recursion, and pigeonhole principle. Infinite sets and diagonalization. Basic counting techniques; permutation and combinations. Applications will be given to digital logic design, elementary number theory, design of programs, and proofs of program correctness.

TEXTBOOK:   The usual official course text for Math 15A is Essentials of Discrete Mathematics, third edition, by Hunter. However, it is prohibitively expensive, and you will not be required to use it during the quarter, so it is listed as an "optional" text for this course. You may instead follow Alex Knop's I2DM notes. These notes are in-progress and may be updated throughout the quarter.


The purpose of this course is to develop a "toolbox" of standard mathematical terminology and ideas which appear frequently in computer science. Most of this development will likely occur as you grapple with homework problems. Consequently, the homework is a very important component of the course, and it is important for you to carefully work every assignment and try your best to complete every problem.

Homework will be posted weekly on Canvas. See the calendar for due dates. Homeworks 1-7 will be turned in on GradeScope; see the homework assignments themselves for further directions. Homework 8 will not be turned in. A homework demonstration will be given in lecture early in the quarter before the first assignment is due.

Late homework will not be accepted for any reason. You may miss up to 10% of the overall homework points without penalty to your grade. [Specifically, your homework percentage will be MIN((raw/total)*10/9, 1).] You must use complete English sentences, standard notation, legible writing, etc.

You are encouraged to work together on homework. However, you must write up your solutions separately. You are also strongly encouraged to type up your homework in LaTeX---this is an invaluable skill used daily by every working mathematician, and it's never too early to start learning. To encourage this, .tex source code for each homework will be provided. You are welcome to ask typesetting questions on Piazza, during lecture or discussion sections, and during office hours.


The components of the course will be weighted as follows:

If you do better on the final than on one of the midterms, your final score will take the place of the lower midterm.

The course will be curved. More information will be provided during the quarter.

You must pass the final examination in order to pass the course.

ATTENDANCE: You are paying quite a lot for my time and the TA's time, so take advantage of it! That includes attending lecture, discussion section, and office hours.


We will use Piazza for class announcements and discussions.

Post on Piazza whenever you're confused about homework, the lecture, the textbook, course logistics, or anything relevant to the course. Do not let yourself be silenced by the fear of looking stupid. Your classmates, the TA's, and I will answer. You have the option of posting anonymously to classmates, though I encourage you to post as yourself to foster a sense of community with your classmates.

You are strongly encouraged to post messages on Piazza instead of emailing me or the TA's directly. Private posts can be made if needed.

GRADESCOPE: We will use GradeScope to grade exams, handle exam returns, and handle regrade requests. Regrade requests are for when the rubric has been marked incorrectly. They are not for arguing with the rubric. More details will be announced during the quarter.

HELP:   Help is available from the TA and myself during office hours. The math department (AP&M 7th floor desk) maintains a list of private tutors.

ACCOMODATIONS:   It is important to me personally and the university generally to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. Students with special needs or disabilities must provide the instructor with an Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) in the first week of class, or as soon as possible if the situation arises later. Arrangements for UCSD Athletics teams, documented medical emergencies, etc., must be requested with appropriate documentation as soon as possible.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:   Cheating will not be tolerated. See the UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship.