UMBC CMSC 203 / 0201, Fall 2002 CSEE

CMSC 203 / 0201
Discrete Structures

Last revised 8/26/02


The primary objective of CMSC 203 is to prepare students mathematically for the study of computer science, through the study of discrete mathematics. Discrete mathematics -- the mathematics of integers and of collections of objects -- underlies the operation of digital computers, and is used widely in all fields of computer science for reasoning about data structures, algorithms and complexity. Topics covered in the course include proof techniques, logic and sets, functions, relations, summations and recurrences, and counting techniques. By the end of the course, students should be able to formulate problems precisely, solve the problems, apply formal proof techniques, explain their reasoning clearly, and use Maple to solve problems and visualize phenomena.


MATH 151 or MATH 140, or their equivalent. CMSC 201 is a corequisite (must be taken previously or simultaneously).

When and Where

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 to 10:50 in ECS 022.


Teaching Assistant

Fang Huang,, office hours Tuesday 5:15-6:15, ECS 334


This website can be found at


The syllabus and course schedule are subject to change. We will follow the Rosen textbook fairly closely, omitting some material and adding other topics.

Textbook and Web Resources

We will be using the following: I have posted some websites that may be useful at the class resource page. I will try to keep this page updated with useful sites. Please feel free to send me any that you find!


As you will learn, I am a strong believer in two-way communication. I expect all students to participate in classroom discussions, by asking questions, expressing opinions, and contributing ideas and solutions to problems. In return, I will make myself available to answer questions, listen to concerns, and talk to any student about topics related to the class (or not). I welcome your feedback throughout the semester about how the course is going.

In addition to regular office hours, I maintain an open-door policy: you should feel to stop by to ask questions, or just say hello, whenever my door is open (which it generally will be unless I am out of the office, in a meeting, or deep in thought). If you have specific, detailed questions on homework problems, I reserve the right to ask you to come back during office hours. Also, I'm not that great at remembering names, so please don't be offended if I ask you several times to re-introduce yourself! I will also make a concerted effort to answer e-mail within 24 hours.


Course grades will be based on the following work. The final weighting may be changed slightly.
Homework  31%
Two midterm exams  15% each
Test of Fundamentals 10%
Final exam  25% 
Class participation  4%

Please refer to the class grading policy.


There will be twelve homework assignments. Assignments are due at the beginning of class on Wednesday and will be penalized if late, as explained in the grading policy. The "zeroth" assignment, due 9/4, will be worth 1% of your final grade. Of the remaining 11 homework assignments, I will drop the lowest grade. Each of the other 10 assignments will be worth 3% of your final grade. See the class grading policy for more information on homework submissions, grading standards, and late policies.


There will be two in-class examinations, a test of fundamentals, and a final examination. No makeup exams will be permitted. The material covered by the exams will be drawn from assigned readings in the text, from lectures, and from the homework. Material from the readings that is not covered in class is fair game, so you are advised to keep up with the readings. Similarly, material from lectures that is not covered in the textbook is fair game, so you are advised to attend class!

Academic Honesty

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.]

All students must read, understand, and follow the CMSC 203/0201 course policy on academic honesty. Each student will be required to sign a copy of the academic honesty/grading policy, indicating that they have read and understood it.

203 mailing list

There is a class mailing list to which you should subscribe. Send e-mail to with a single line:
subscribe cs203dj Your Name
for example
subscribe cs203dj Marie desJardins
If your request is successful, you will receive an e-mail telling you that you are now subscribed to the list, how to post messages, and how to unsubscribe. Class announcements, hints, and discussion of assignments will be posted on this list. You can also send messages to the list to ask questions of your fellow students and/or TA and professor.

General questions (i.e., anything that another student may also be wondering about) should be sent to the list, so that everyone will be able to benefit from the answers. Students are welcome to post answers to questions, even if the questions were directed at the course staff. However, specific solutions to homework problems and exam problems should not be posted. Individual concerns, requests for extensions, questions about individual grades, and the like should be sent to the instructor and/or TA as appropriate (preferably to both of us).


The most effective way to learn the course material is to solve problems, at least a few every day. It is recommended that you solve every problem in every assigned section of the text.
  1. Start early, keep up, and manage your time effectively.
  2. Do not passively listen to lectures, but actively participate in each class meeting.
  3. Ask questions when you do not understand completely or when you think a problem is ambiguous or unclear. Take advantage of the resources at your disposal.
  4. If you find yourself falling into trouble, or falling behind in the class, seek help from the instructor or the TA immediately.
  5. If you get stuck on a homework problem, don't ask someone to solve it for you, but do look for clues that will help you to solve the problem, or similar problems with solutions in the textbook or from class.


Thanks to 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.