COMPSCI 250: Introduction to Computation

David Mix Barrington and Mordecai Golin

Spring 2024

This is the home page for COMPSCI 250. COMPSCI 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.

The two lectures each day will be very similar and use very similar lecture slides. Lecture 250-01 (Dave) meets MWF 1:25-2:15 p.m. in Thompson 102. Lecture 250-02 (Mordecai) meets MWF 10:10-11:00 a.m. in Morrill (II) 131. The sections will have the same homework and exams, and will use a single Moodle site.

There are nine discussion sections each Friday:

Instructor Contact Info:

David Mix Barrington, 210 Computer Science Building, 545-4329, private zoom number 459 532 6175, office hours for Spring 2024: Monday 2:30-3:30 (office), Tuesday 10:00-11:00 (zoom), Thursday 4:00-5:00 (office)

Mordecai Golin, A143 LGRC, office hours for Fall 2023: Friday 1-2 or by appointment.

The best way to contact either Dave or Mordecai is by email. Dave will usually eventually answer email at, but not as quickly.

TA and UCA Contact Info:

This course is primarily intended for undergraduates in computer science and related majors such as informatics, mathematics or computer engineering. CICS 160 (using data structures) and MATH 132 (Calculus II) are prerequisites and are pretty strictly enforced.

The four-credit course meets for three lecture meetings a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Mordecai will lecture 10:10-11:00 in Morrill II 131 and Dave will lecture 12:20-1:10, in Thompson 102 -- the lectures will be similar and will follow the textbook pretty closely. Both lecture sections of the course will have the same assignments, exams, and grade scale.

The schedule below indicates which lectures and discussions happen which days, which sections of the book to which they refer, and when the homework assignments are due.

There is one discussion meeting per week for each of the nine sections, at various times on Fridays before lecture as indicated on SPIRE. Each discussion 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 instructors will cover the sections in various combinations, so they will be as interchangeable as we can make them.

The textbook is the current draft of Dave's in-progress book, A Mathematical Foundation for Computer Science. This is available as an e-book from Kendall Hunt Publishing (last year for $60, probably a bit more this year). It has an "assessment package" where you will need the current version of the book to answer quiz questions. The book and package can be obtained from the eCampus site or directly from Kendall Hunt. (Dave does not get royalties for purchases from students in the course -- they are contributed to the David Mix Barrington Scholarship in Computer Science.)

The course is using the Moodle course management system and the Piazza system for student discussion. We will also use a free system called ClassQuestion, which replaces the iClicker system we used in prior years. They will be used in grading only for classroom attendance. Basic information about the course will be on this site, and specifics of the course will be off of the Moodle main page once it is established.

Announcements (27 January 2024):

Last modified 8 February 2024