CMSC 203, Section 0401 - Spring 2005
Discrete Structures


Course Website:


Instructor: Eric Eaton
Office: ITE 339
Office Hours: MW, 2:00pm-2:50pm, and by appointment.

Grader: Kishalay Kundu
Office: ITE 352
Office Hours: TuTh, 1:00pm-4:00pm
Phone:  410-455-6339

Class Time and Location

Section 0401 meets in Lecture Hall 3 from 5:30pm - 6:45pm Monday and Wednesday

Course Description

This course introduces the fundamental tools, topics and concepts of discrete mathematics needed to study computer science. This course emphasizes counting methods, proof techniques and problem-solving strategies. Topics include Boolean algebra; set theory; symbolic logic; predicate calculus; number theory; the methods of direct, indirect and inductive proofs; objective functions; equivalence relations; graphs; set partitions; combinatorics; modular arithmetic; summations; and recurrences. By the end of the course, students should be able to formulate problems precisely, solve the problems, apply formal proof techniques, and explain their reasoning.


Required: Kenneth H. Rosen. Discrete Mathematics and its Applications. Fifth Edition. McGraw-Hill, 2003. ISBN: 00-07-242434-6.

The textbook has a companion website with interactive demonstrations, additional examples, and other supplementary information:

Recommended:  Leslie Lamport. LaTeX: A Document Preparation System. Second Edition.  Addison-Wesley, 1994.  ISBN: 0201529831. price:  $28.34


Course Outline

The structure of the course will roughly follow the structure of the text. We will cover approximately one chapter per week, with room built into the schedule for flexibility paced on the progress and expertise of the class. One goal is to provide at least an introduction to special topics in discrete mathematics near the end of the semester. These topics include graphs, relations, trees, and formal languages.

See the course schedule for details.

Course Mailing List

A course mailing list has been established for distributing news and discussing course-related topics. Students should feel free to post general problems, questions, and answers to the list for the benefit of the entire class. At no time should students post problem set solutions or solutions to exam questions to the course mailing list; posting such solutions will be interpreted as academic dishonesty.  Posting such solutions will be the sole responsibility of the course staff.  Individual concerns should be e-mailed directly to course staff.

To subscribe, compose an email in plain text (not HTML) to with a blank subject and the following message replacing <Your Name> with your actual name. Also be sure NOT to put any spaces in the list name:

sub cmsc203-0401-spr05 <Your Name>

Although not required, it is highly recommended that you subscribe to the course mailing list. If you do not subscribe to the list, there is no guarantee that you will receive up-to-date information about the course.

To post to the course mailing list, send email to


As you will discover, I am a proponent of two-way communication.  I expect everyone to participate actively in classroom discussions by asking questions, contributing problem solutions, and proposing ideas.  I welcome feedback during the semester about the course. 

In return, I will make myself available to answer student questions, listen to concerns, and talk about any course-related topic (or otherwise!).  I make an effort to respond to e-mails within 24 weekday hours.

Whenever you e-mail the instructor or grader, please use a meaningful subject line and include the phrase "CMSC 203" at the beginning of that line.


Your final grade will be composed of :

Your final grade will be determined according to the following criteria:

90% <= A <= 100%
80% <= B < 90%
70% <= C < 80%
60% <= D < 70%
0% <= F < 60%

These criteria may be adjusted slightly in your favor. Incomplete grades will be given only for verifiable medical illness or other such dire circumstances.

Class participation points can be earned during the semester through a variety of in-class activities, including (but not limited to) pop quizzes, student feedback surveys, and group activities.  These activities will not be announced in advance and cannot be made up, so you are advised to attend class and keep up-to-date with the course material and readings.

Homework Assignments

There will be ten (10) homeworks assigned over the course of the semester. Each homework will be assigned at least one week in advance of its due date. Homework assignment solutions must be turned in at the start of class in hardcopy on the designated due date.  Homework assignments can be submitted up to 48 hours late for 1/2 credit. No submissions later than 48 hours will be accepted.  Extensions will be given only in the case of verifiable medical excuses or other such dire circumstances, if requested in advance.

All problem set solutions are required to be typeset with proper mathematical notation. I highly recommend the use of the LaTeX text formatting system, which we will cover in class. If you choose another text processing system, you are responsible for ensuring the mathematical notation in your submitted solutions is accurate and correct. Borrowing from previous instructors, I've set up a LaTeX resource page with links to good LaTeX websites and links to example files. There are also several excellent texts and references listed on the resource page; these are available at almost any book store.

All solutions are required to be your own, individual work. You may, and are encouraged, to discuss methods, concepts, and assignments with anyone; however, the solutions turned in must be your own work. A good rule of thumb is to be alone when you sit down to actually generate solutions to the assigned problem sets, and to not show your solutions to anyone else.

At the top of your submission, you must include a clear statement specifying the source of any assistance you received on this assignment.  This includes any websites you consulted, other students with whom you discussed any of the problems, etc.  If you did not receive any assistance, you must say so.  Submissions without this statement will be penalized.

Lectures and Readings

You are expected to attend all classes.  You are responsible for all material covered in the lecture (including material that is not included in the textbook), and all material in the readings (including material that is not covered during lecture).   You are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the assigned readings before each class.  If you miss a class, you are responsible for getting the notes and any verbal information given during class from a fellow classmate.  If handouts were given out or assignments returned, you may come to my office to get them.

You must study to do well in this course; it will not be enough to attend lectures and do the homework.  The best way to learn discrete math is to solve problems.  I recommend you solve a few problems each day outside of the assigned homework.  You will discover that the more problems you solve, the quicker you become at solving them.


The exams will be closed-book and closed-notes. Test dates for all exams have already been announced, so plan your schedule accordingly. In the case of verifiable medical excuses or other such dire circumstances, arrangements must be made with the instructor for a makeup exam. You are responsible for initiating these arrangements, not your instructor, before the test date.

Only pencils, pens, and erasers are permitted in the exam room unless otherwise indicated.  Scratch paper will be provided to you by the course staff, as needed.  Having any other materials in your possession during an exam will be taken as evidence of cheating and dealt with accordingly. 

UMBC Statement of Values for Academic Integrity

By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC's scholarly community in which everyone's academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, or the UMBC Policies section of the UMBC Directory. [Statement adopted by UMBC's Undergraduate Council and Provost's Office.]

For additional details on university policies on academic integrity, see the UMBC Undergraduate Student Academic Conduct Policy and the Faculty Handbook, Section 14.2 -- POLICY ON FACULTY, STUDENT, AND INSTITUITIONAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Any violation of the UMBC academic honesty policy will carry a minimum penalty of a zero (0) grade on the grade component in question and a full letter grade reduction of the final grade.

Cheating in any form will not be tolerated. Instances of cheating will be reported to the UMBC Academic Conduct Committee. These reports are filed by the Committee and can be used for disciplinary action such as a permanent record on your transcript. You are expected to be honest yourself and to report any cases of dishonesty you see among other students in this class. Reports of dishonest behavior will be kept anonymous.


Thanks to Matt Gaston, Marie desJardins, Alan Sherman, Dennis Frey, and Paul Artola for making their course materials available. Many of the course materials for this class have been adapted from those sources.

Last Modified: 2005-01-31 13:53