Course Overview

Discrete Mathematics is the study of discrete structures: the natural numbers ($\mathbb{N}$), the integers $\mathbb{Z}$, trees, graphs, etc., and so is distinguished from the study of continuous structures like the reals $\mathbb{R}$ or complex numbers $\mathbb{C}$. The methods of proof used in this course reflect this difference in mathematical domain, and emphasize proofs by induction, counting arguments, etc.


The instructor is Professor Stuart A. Kurtz.

Generally speaking, the best way to communicate with me outside of class is via email, at stuart@cs.uchicago.edu. If you do send me email, please include include the string "[27100]" in the subject line, e.g.,

Subject: [27100] Homework questions...

Office hours are 2:00pm–3:00pm MWF, and by appointment. Please feel free to ask to set up an appointment if my regular hours don't work for you, and I will try to accommodate you as quickly as possible. Getting an appointment is easy: just ask. My office is Ryerson 166.

The teaching assistants are

NameOffice Hours
Leonardo Nagami CoreglianoMWF 2:00pm-3:00pm
Jafar JafarovMTu 4:30pm-6:00pm
Goutham RajendranWTh 4:30pm-6:00pm, Ry255

Unless otherwise noted, the TA's office hours will be in Ryerson 162.


The required textbook is Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications, 7th Edition by Kenneth H. Rosen.


Grading will be based on homework (1/2), the midterm (1/6) and the final exam (1/3). Unless otherwise noted, homework assigned during one lecture will be due at the beginning of the following lecture.

Only the starred (*) exercises from the Lecture notes will be assessed and should be handed in. This doesn't mean that the others are unimportant! Do them all.

How to succeed in this course (and in College)

You should work hard. But hard work is not enough to guarantee success. You need to work hard, and smart.

  1. Ask questions. Ask questions during lectures, in study group meetings, at office hours. Don't assume, if you don't understand something now, you'll figure it out later by yourself and all will be well. Ideas build on ideas, and not understanding something now can undermine your foundation, leaving you behind and struggling.
  2. Do all of the assessed work. The difference between A students and everyone else has less to do with the A students jumping better, and more to do with their reliability in jumping when and how they're expected to.
  3. Form study groups. Meet 2-3 times a week for an hour or so. Review the lectures, the homeworks (both pending and graded). Make sure you understand what you've been taught, what you have to do, and the feedback you're getting.
  4. Take advantage of the office hours for the course instructors and TAs. If you can't make your instructor's posted hours, ask to meet at a time that works for you. Consider meeting with the TAs, who might have a different “take” on something that has you stumped. Please understand that we like to have students come to our office hours. It is perfectly reasonable, if your group can't figure something out, for the whole group to come to office hours.