CMSC-203: Discrete Math (spring 2001)


Teaching Assistant

Class Meetings


Epp, Susan, Discrete Mathematics with Applications, Brooks/Cole (1995).
[We will cover Chapters 5, 1-4, 7-8, 10, 6, in that order.]

Maple and Latex

Every student is required to learn how to use Maple, which is a software package for doing symbolic and numerical mathematics. It is available for free on all UMBC mainframes (type "xmaple" under unix). The UMBC Bookstore sells Mac and PC versions of Maple for the standard student discounted price of about $120). Maple is the modern "calculator," which can empower you to visualize and compute better than you can do alone. There is an on-line tutorial and help feature. I have selected Maple (rather than Macsyma, Matlab, Mathematica) because it is the UMBC standard.

Although you are not required to do so, you may find it helpful also to learn how to use the document-preparation system Latex, which is the best commonly-available system and most widely-used system by computer scientists for preparing mathematical documents. It is available for free on all UMBC mainframes (see " LaTeX Template for more info on how to run Latex), and the UMBC Bookstore sells the Mathematical Workplace (including Maple and Latex) for the Mac and PC for about $300. In addition, there is a free PC-version available called Mitex. Latex is part of the standard Linux environment. If you must typeset documents using Microsoft Word, which I feel produces lousy mathematics, it is relatively best to use its Equation Editor and to load the family of AMS fonts distributed by the American Mathematical Society. It is highly advantageous to prepare course documents including homework solutions using a method that allows you to edit extensively. Although some people find Latex hard to use, and although its table, graphing, and picture features are a bit clumsy, you can import encapsulated postscript files into a Latex document, and Latex does produce high-quality mathematical equations and expressions.

Course Materials

Important Dates

Alan T. Sherman,
Last modified: March 12, 2001