CMPSCI 250: Introduction to Computation
David Mix Barrington
This is the home page for CMPSCI 250.
CMPSCI 250 is the undergraduate core course in
discrete mathematics and will deal with logic, elementary number theory,
proof by induction, recursion on trees, search algorithms,
finite state machines, and a bit of computability.
Instructor Contact Info:
David Mix Barrington, 210 CMPSCI
building, 545-4329, office hours Mon 10-11, Tue 11-12, Thu 2-4.
I generally answer my email fairly
TA Contact Info:
- Cibele Friere,
office hours Wed. 2:30-3:30,
- Tianbo Gu,
office hours Fri. 11-12,
- Gene Levitzky,
office hours Fri 2:30-3:30,
- Shikang Xu,
office hours Tues. 4-5.
- All TA office hours in the USpace, room 144 CMPSCI building
The course is primarily intended for undergraduates in computer science
and related majors such as mathematics or computer engineering. CMPSCI 187
(programming with data structures) and MATH 132 (Calculus II) are corequisites
and in fact most students in the course have already taken both.
The course meets for three lecture meetings a week, Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday 1:25-2:30, in Goessmann 64.
There is one discussion meeting per week for each of the four
sections, at various times on Monday as indicated on SPIRE.
Most discussions will have a written assignment which you
will carry out in groups.
Discussion attendance is required,
so that missing a discussion
will incur a grade penalty. The TA's and I will cover the sections in various
so they should be as interchangeable as we can make them.
The textbook is the current draft of my in-progress book,
Discrete Mathematics: A Foundation for Computer Science. This
be available at Collective Copies in Amherst Center, sometime around
the start of term.
Prior versions of the textbook that were intended for CMPSCI
may be used -- the most recent versions of the book differ only by
the correction of some minor errors.
The course is using the iClicker system, and the Moodle course
management system. Basic information about the course will be on this
site, and specifics of the course will be off of the Moodle main page
Announcements (11 April 2014):
- (11 April) The solutions to the
second midterm are posted. The normalized scores on Moodle are
computed by the rule N = (R - 40)*8, where R is the raw score. Here
is a breakdown of the results:
Everyone, including the D+'s and D's on the exam, still has a
chance of C
or better overall in the course based on homework, discussions,
clickers, quizzes, or an improved final exam.
- A+ (93-108) 23
- A (88-92) 20
- A- (84-87) 18
- B+ (80-83) 14
- B (76-79) 12
- B- (72-75) 10
- C+ (68-71) 8
- C (63-67) 12
- C- (59-62) 5
- D+ (55-58) 4
- D (51-54) 4
- F (0-50) 0
- (10 April) I've posted the text of
the second midterm. Solutions will follow soon. I set the
scale as A = 90, B = 77.5, C = 65, D = 52.5, and individual scores
(on the 400 = A, 300 = B, etc., scale) have been posted on Moodle.
The high was 108, the median 83, and the low 52 -- I will post more
statistics after I put up the solutions.
- (27 February) Solutions are up.
- (27 February) I have posted the text of the
first midterm. Solutions will follow soon.
- (7 February) The syllabus has
been revised to include the midterm exam locations and to account
for the snow day last Wednesday.
- (14 January) The syllabus and
the requirements and grading page are now up.
- (4 January) If you would like to be registered for this
but are not, you must go through the department's override
We have more deserving students wanting the course than we can
accommodate, and the override process will evaluate each student's
need for and qualifications for the course. Even students who meet
all the criteria on SPIRE for the course must now request overrides,
so that we can administer all requests fairly. If you are unsure
this is the right course for you this semester, please email me to
- (4 January) I am putting up only a preliminary version of the
course website today. The full version of last spring's website is
available here and has exams with
and a full syllabus. It will soon have PDF lecture notes from last
semester's course as well. This offering of CMPSCI 250 will be very similar to that one.
Last modified 11 April 2014