INFO 150: A Mathematical Foundation for Informatics
David Mix Barrington
This is the home page for INFO 150.
INFO 150 is an introductory
undergraduate course in discrete mathematics and the mathematical
method. I have developed it for use in a
new degree program
in the College of Information and Computer Sciences called "Informatics",
a program that
will teach computational thinking at a less technical level than the
Computer Science majors. The intended audience for this course is
students who intend to pursue computing, perhaps in programming
for majors like
CMPSCI 121 and 187, but could use more exposure to mathematical
Instructor Contact Info:
David Mix Barrington, 210 CMPSCI
building, 545-4329, office hours for Fall 2017 Tue 11-12, Thu 3-4,
I generally answer my email fairly
TA Contact Info: There is no TA for this course but we have
an undergraduate course assistant yet to be named.
The material of the course does not overlap much with that of the
pre-calculus and calculus courses, but it will demand some basic skill
calculation. There is no formal prerequisite, but an average
math background will be useful (e.g., the University's R1 gen-ed
(This course does not carry gen-ed credit itself, though I expect that
future versions will be R2 courses.)
On the opposite end of the spectrum, someone who has taken MATH 132
CMPSCI 187 probably has too much mathematical maturity to be in
appropriate audience for this course.
The textbook for the course is
Mathematical Reasoning and Proof with Puzzles, Patterns, and Games by
Douglas E. Ensley and J Winston Crawley.
The UMass Amazon virtual bookstore has been informed about
the book. It's pretty expensive, but there is the cheaper options of buying
it used (I didn't see options of renting it or getting the e-book on the Amazon site, but they may exist). Do not buy the paperback "solutions manual" in
place of the hardcover textbook. We'll work through most
of the book, with specific sections as specified on the syllabus.
The course will meet for three lecture meetings a week, MWF 11:15-12:05
in room 15 of Marston Hall. There will be graded
activity in every class section, so attendance is required.
Announcements (25 November 2017):
- (25 Nov) I have posted the second
midterm and its solution. The
scores for the 19 people who took the exam were 86, 79, 78, 74,
71, 69, 68, 67, 64, 61, 60, 57, 57, 55, 54, 54, 44, 33, 33. I
put the scale at A = 81, B = 67.5, C = 54, D = 40.5, since this
was clearly more difficult than last year's second midterm. I
still owe you notes for the non-book lecture on simulation.
- (22 Oct) I am hoping to have the first midterm and its solution posted tonight.
The scores for the 19 people who took the exam were
97, 96, 89, 89, 87, 86, 85, 81, 79, 78, 75, 71, 64, 62, 58, 57,
46, 32, and 22. The median was 78. The scale was as
A = 90, B = 75, C = 60, D = 45, F = 30.
- (14 Oct) I've put up notes for yesterday's
non-book lecture. They contain the homework assignment due
Note that Monday's lecture will not be covered on Monday night's
- (28 Sept) I've put up notes for the non-book lecture on
brute-force search I gave today. There will be three other
non-book lectures at various times during the term, and notes
for them will be available from the link above after they happen.
- (19 Sept) I will be away this Thursday and Friday, 21 and 22
September. As it says on the syllabus, there is no class Friday.
The homework assigned tomorrow will be due Monday 25 September.
This will be the last homework for which I will type out the problem
text from the book.
- (7 Sept) I've put up the second homework assignment before
the first one is due, so make sure you do the first one for
- (5 Sept) I have put up the syllabus and the
requirements/grading page, and I am about to put up the first
assignment, which is due Friday. I'll copy the questions for
this one and perhaps one or two more, but you need to get the textbook!
- (2 Sept) We'll begin the class on Wednesday 6 September at 11:15.
Please try to get the textbook as soon as possible if you don't
have it already. I'll post the syllabus before the end of the
- (26 July) This is a preliminary version of the web page.
This is the second offering of this course under its current number
and with its current size. Last year's course web site is available
here. We do have room for more students, so
please email me if you would like to
talk about the course and whether it is right for you. I'll have more material
on this page as we get closer to term. If you have questions about the
Informatics program, now being operated in cooperation with BDIC, please
contact Dr. Michelle Trim, the
undergraduate advisor for the program.
Last modified 25 November 2017