CMSC250-0401,0402,0403,0404,0405,0406,0407,0408,0409,0101,0102,0103,0104: Discrete Structures-Fall 2018 reastman/ckruskal

CMSC 250 

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  • Clyde Kruskal (, sections 010x. Office: AVW 3215. Office hours:  MWF 1:30–2:30pm.
  • Roger Eastman (, sections 040x. Office: AVW 3239. Office hours: Mon, 1:00–4:00pm



All lectures occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays and are split between instructors as follows:

  • Kruskal: 010x: CSIC11153:30pm4:45pm
  • Roger: 040x, ESJ0202, 2:00–3:15 pm


Course Content

The following is a list of topics that we intend to cover. 

  • Logic
    • Propositional Logic
    • Circuits
    • Predicates and quantifiers
    • Number bases
  • Set Theory 
    • Basic definitions
    • Powerset, Cartesian Product
  • Number Theory and Proof techniques
    • Number Theoretic definitions (parity divisibility, modular arithmetic, prime factorization, floor / ceiling, rationality).
    • Proof strategies (direct, indirect, universal and existential statements)
    • Famous proofs and open problems
  • Induction
    • Mathematical (weak, strong)
    • Structural (trees, sets, strings, graphs)
    • Constructive
  • Combinatorics
    • Permutations, combinations
    • Binomial Theorem, Pascal's Triangle, combinatorial proofs
    • Elementary discrete probability, conditional probability, Bayes Theorem
  • Optional (as time allows)
    • Countability
    • "Big-oh" (LaTeX: \mathcal{O}) notation
    • Functions, Relations


This semester, we have a required textbook. This textbook is: 

Susanna Epp, Discrete Mathematics with Applications, 4th Edition, Brooks / Code publishing,
13: 978-0495391326.

However, we do not require that you purchase the 4th edition of the book new (the cost of the hardcover can go all the way up to $350 through online retailers like Amazon). Other books that the instructional staff consider good choices are:

  • Kenneth Rosen, Discrete Mathematics and its Applications, 7th edition, McGraw Hill, ISBN-13: 978-0-07-338309-5 
  • Thomas Koshy, Discrete Mathematics with Applications, 1st edition, Elsevier, ISBN-13: 978-0124211803. (out of print, can only be found used online or in the UMCP library system)

Students who want to have access to extra material for practice are encouraged to purchase, rent or borrow any edition of these books. 


Discussion Sessions, Tutors and Graders

Discussion occurs on Mondays and Wednesdays, in specific times that can be accessed through this Testudo link. Every section is assigned a tutor ("teaching TA"), as well as a grader for homeworks and quizzes as follows:

Section code Meeting time (Mon / Wed)  CSIC Room # Tutor Grader
0101 10am-10:50am 3120 Aranya Banerjee Junchi Chu
0102 11am-11:50am 3120 Yifan Yang
Natalie Gilbert
0103 12pm - 12:50pm 3118 David Miller Dunbang He
0104 10am-10:50am 2117 Seth Rabin Xiaoyu Li
0401 8am-8:50am 2117 Justin Goodman Parsa Saadatpanah
0402 9am-9:50am 2117 Yang (Trista)Cao Lindsay An
0403 5pm-5:50pm 1122 Zarek & Cliff
Zhiyu Huang
0404 11am-11:50am 2117 Clifford Bakalian Erika Melder
0405 5pm-5:50pm 3117
Alexander Levine Harshil Jain
0406 5pm-5:50pm 3120
Lillian Huang Jue Xu
0407 8am-8:50am 2118
Connor Petrelle Katheryn Fox
0408 9am-9:50am 2118
Ajeet Gary Hong Wei

Office Hours

All office hours are taking place in the undergraduate office hours room, AVW 1112 (right across the undergraduate office in A.V. Williams), except for the instructors', which take place in their respective offices, outlined above. TAs will hold office hours 9 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday.

Office hours by TA in a Google spreadsheet. This spreadsheet will be updated as TA schedules, but there should be someone there each hour.


We will be using Piazza, a question-and-answer system designed to streamline discussion outside of the classroom. It supports LaTeX, code formatting, embedding of images, and attaching of files. It will be moderated by the instructors and TAs, but students are encouraged to answer questions.


Description of Assignments

  1. Two weekly homework assignments. Those will be due on Monday and Wednesday before recitation.
  2. Examinations. We will have 2 midterm exams and 1 final exam (see "Exams" section below). Those will be our only "summative" assessments for this semester. They will be written in pen (or pencil) and paper and will be handed out to proctors after the exam time. Closed book.
  3. Ungraded assignments.  Those are meant to help you out with elements such as assessing your mathematical background, learning \LaTeX or practicing the various different perks of ELMS. 



  • Midterm 1: Wednesday, October 10, from 6:00-8:00 pm, in ESJ, room TBA.
  • Midterm 2: Wednesday, November 7, from 6:00-8:00 pm, in ESJ, room TBA.
    • FinalFriday, December 14 from 4:00pm--6:00pm, room TBA.
      Note that the final starts at 4:00pm, not 6:00pm as with the midterms



    This grading policy is subject to minor changes, up to 3% above or below for every one of the following assignment categories:

    • Homework assignments: 19%, about 1% each.
    • Midterm 1: 25%
    • Midterm  2: 25%
    • Final: 31%

    The course staff reserves the right to reduce the number of homeworks or quizzes on any given week, if deemed academically necessary.


    Grading exceptions

    The following policies will govern assignments and exams.
    • If you have a problem with grading on an exam or homework, you have a limited time to submit a regrade request in Gradescope.
    • You may discuss homework problems and general solution strategies
    with classmates, but you must write up the solutions yourself, and you must note on your homework who you worked with.
    • Homeworks can be handed in two days late for 25% penalty.
    • You can turn in two homeworks late with no penalty.
    • Your two lowest homeworks will be dropped.
    • As a courtesy to the grader, homeworks are to be written clearly and neatly. Poorly written or illegible work will not be graded.


    Homeworks: distribution and submission

    Homework assignments will be distributed on Elms:

    Homeworks will also be turned in on ELMS. Homework assignments must be in PDF format. We only allow PDF format for the uploading of your homework assignments, whose description will also be supplied in PDF format, prepared with the document preparation system \LaTeX. We can think of four different ways to submit your homework assignments:

    1. \LaTeX ("lah-tech"; highly encouraged) The best way to submit your assignments is to edit the provided \LaTeX source files (which have the suffix .tex) and then convert them to PDF using pdflatex. This is because of the ease, aesthetic quality and modularity of mathematical formulae with \LaTeX To help you out with learning \LaTeX, we have included the well-known document "The Not So Short Introduction to \LaTeX2ein our course materials (link to PDF). In addition, the review sheet that we publish so that you can assess your mathematical background (as it pertains to 250) has the \LaTeXsource included, so that you can play around with it if you wish. It has been observed anecdotally that people who learn \LaTeX tend to never, ever want to use another program to author documents ever again.
    2. Microsoft Word or Open/Libre Office (easy with simple text, tough with formulae): It is also possible to use your favorite office suite to write down your responses, but you would have to convert to PDF before submission, otherwise the system will not let you upload your response. Those programs tend to have very cumbersome and unwieldy, WYSISWYG equation editors, so we prefer\LaTeX to using those.
    3. Directly editing the PDF with a PDF program that allows it (very easy with simple text, virtually impossible with formulae): Some programs like Adobe Acrobat DC Professional (available for free to all students through Terpware) and Apple Preview in Macs allow for this, but we have not found an easy way for the inputting of mathematical formulae.
    4. Hand-Written scan (discouraged): If you must submit a hand-written response, we kindly ask that you use an actual scanner to turn your response into a legible PDF. This University libraries link has a lot of information about scanning, printing and copying around campus; consult it if you're not sure where to use a machine capable of producing quality scans of handwritten documents.

    University "Course-Related Policies" 

    Starting with Fall 2016, the University has packaged certain campus-wide "course-related policies" into a single centralized webpage, which is traversable by navigating this link. Every course is required to link to these policies, which cover very important elements such as:

    • Excused absences (what are your rights, what are our responsibilities), including dates of projected religious observance.
    • Disability accommodations on campus
    • Code of Student Conduct and matters pertaining to Academic Integrity.
    • Grade contesting.
    • Mid-Term ("Early Warning") grades

    It is the responsibility of every instructor on campus to link to the course-related policies page from the course syllabus. Those policies are part of this (and any other) syllabus and you should familiarize yourselves with them! We further specialize the "course-related policies" by virtue of the following rules that affect midterms:

    • Midterm exam make-ups will be given only up to 1 (one) week after the scheduled date
    • Students needing ADS accommodations are requested to provide the instructor with the necessary ADS forms during the schedule adjustment period, detailed on this webpage as being the first 10 days of lecture. 



    Here are some official tutoring services for you:

    The Association of Women in Computing (AWC) (Links to an external site.) offers free ``drop-in'' tutoring in AVW3165 for various courses, CMSC250 included, during the following days and hours:
    Monday 12:30pm-2:30pm and 3:30pm-5:30pm; Tuesday 1pm-3pm; Wednesday 4pm-6pm; Thursday 1:30pm-3:30pm. The AWC also offers one-on-one tutoring by request: please visit for more information.

    The office of Learning Assistance Services, which is part of the Counseling Center of the University
    also offers free tutoring for UMD students. Their office is 2202 Shoemaker and their phone is 301-314-7693.
    Their academic coaches can help with time management, reading, math learning skills, note-taking and exam preparation skills. They also offer practice midterms.


    Course Summary:

    Date Details Due