· 6042 Stellar
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This subject offers an introduction to Discrete Mathematics oriented toward Computer Science and Engineering. This Fall there are three class sessions MWF, two of them in parallel:
The subject coverage divides into three parts:
The prerequisite is 18.01 (first term calculus), in particular, some familiarity with sequences and series, limits, and differentiation and integration of functions of one variable.
Considerations for Taking the Subject This TermThere are two main considerations for students in deciding to take 6.042J/18.062J this term or at all.
The class has a comprehensive web site (you're looking at it now):
Notes, problem sets, solutions, etc., will be posted on the course main page. Other course information such as staff contact information and announcements are also available on this website. It is always worth checking the website for corrections and announcements before starting problem sets.
Problem Sets are normally due by electronic submission at 1PM on Friday. See the detailed problem set submission instructions.
Making a reasonable effort on the problem sets is, for most students, crucial for mastering the course material. Late submissions will not be accepted once the solutions are posted. Note that solutions are generally posted promptly after the time they are due.
The guidelines for a good solution are similar to those for class problems: a capable, prepared student who didn't see right away how to solve the problem should be able to read your answer and promptly see how to go about solving the problem themselves. If you cannot solve a problem in a reasonable time, don't lose sleep over it: you can get useful credit by including an explanation of where and how you got stuck.
Graders' time is limited, and they have been instructed to deny credit without struggling unduly to understand answers. For this reason, entirely correct but nonstandard answers are occasionally denied credit. We encourage you to seek the credit you deserve by asking either your TA, LA, or the Grades master to review your solution outside of class. If you are not satisfied with their response, you may appeal to the instructor-in-charge.
Online Feedback ProblemsOnline problems to be completed before most class meetings are posted on the 6.042r website. These consist of straightforward questions that provide useful feedback about the assigned material. (Some students prefer to try the online problems before reading the text or watching videos as an advance guide to going over the material; that's fine.)
Like team problem-solving in class, online problems are graded solely on participation: students receive full credit as long as they try the problem, even if their answer is wrong. Online feedback problems count for 5% of the final grade.collaboration statement accompanying your submission.
Other SourcesMost class materials other than problem solutions are available for Spring '13, and Fall '12. Materials are also available on OCW for Fall '10, Spring '10.
A problem from prior terms may occasionally be assigned again without change. If you find a published solution, you should cite it, and may not simply copy the published solution. Instead, a critique of the published solution or an improved version should be submitted instead.
We discourage, but do not forbid, use of materials from prior terms. We repeat, however, that use of material from a previous term requires a proper scholarly citation. As long as you provide an accurate citation and collaboration statement, a questionable submission will rarely be sanctionedinstead, we'll explain why we judge the submission unsatisfactory (and maybe deny credit for a specific, clearly copied solution). But omission of such a citation will be taken as a priori evidence of cheating, with unpleasant consequences for everyone.
Preparation checksA preparation check consists of one or two questions which will be easy to answer in 35 minutes if you have prepared for class (looked at the assigned reading and slides/videos)－but not so easy if you haven't prepared. Prep checks are given at the beginning of nearly every class unless there is another exam. Your response is ranked P for prepared or U for unprepared. Your team coach takes the preparation check into account when assigning you a participation grade for the day's class.
To write your preparation check solutions, you are expected to bring a piece of paper (8.5 x 11in) and a pen to class. Preparation checks are closed book; no cribsheets. You may fill out your name, session (1PM, 2:30TEAL, 2:30Lounge) and Team label (113 or AL), and heading "Prep Check [month day], 2013" in advance.
If you get a U or miss a prep-check, you may email an appeal for upgrade to your coach within one week of the prep-check. The email should include
Weekly MiniquizzesA closed book miniquiz, usually 15 minutes, will be given in class most Mondays.
Material to study for a miniquiz is well defined: a miniquiz will basically consist of excerpts or small variations of problems assigned the previous week, including class, pset, and online problems. You can prepare for a miniquiz simply by reviewing the posted problem solutions for the previous week.
NOTE: You are NOT allowed to use a crib sheet during the miniquizzes.
Miniquizzes count for a total of 5% of the final grade.
For miniquizzes, the grades are OK, NeedsWork, UnConvincing. If you get an NW or UC, you may email an appeal for upgrade to your coach. The email should include
Midterm ExamsOne hour midterm exams will be given in class on Wednesday, Oct. 9 and Wednesday, Nov. 6. The first midterm covers all previous weeks' material; the second midterm covers all previous weeks' material after the first midterm. A single two-sided crib sheet is allowed for each midterm.
The midterm exams will each count for a total of 10% of the final grade.
Final ExamThere will be a standard 3-hour final exam on December 16, 9AM--noon in du Pont. The final exam will cover the entire subject. It may include a few questions which combine topics that were originally covered separately.
You are allowed to bring a pair of two-sided crib sheets (total: 4 sides) for the final. This exam is worth 25% of the final class grade.
GradesThe lowest lowest problem set score, lowest two (2) miniquiz scores, and lowest three (3) class session scores will not count in grade calculation. This effectively gives you a problem set, two miniquizzes, and three class sessions you can miss without excuse or penalty. You should notify the staff in advance of an absence if possible, and briefly indicate the reason. Think of the three absences as "personal" days which you may use for sick leave, professional conflicts like job interviews, or sleeping in. Waivers and makeups for absences or missed miniquizzes will be considered only after the three allowed absences or two miniquiz waivers are used up. Prep-checks missed because of absences are waived with the absence.
Grades for the course will be based on the following weighting:
The class is not graded on a curve. In fact, MIT policy (Rules and Regulations of the Faculty, section 2.62) does not allow grading according to a fixed grade distribution. Instead, students are assessed individually. In particular, students who remain in class after Drop Date are not in jeopardy of seeing their grades change due to the change in class composition.While there is no curve, there are historical norms. Historically, 6.042J/18.062J is a "B-centered" class. The percentage of A grades (A+, A, A-) has been between 28% and 41% nearly every past term. Similarly, the percentage of A/B grades has been between 68% and %75 for nearly every past term, with A/B/C grades between 85% and 95%.
On the other hand, in Spring '09, more than 60% of the class received an A grade and 91% of the class received an A/B grade. In this case, the instructors judged that the class had shown unusual strength--a judgment that was supported by the class's well above average overall performance on a challenging final exam.
A student who misses only a few problem sets and classes, and takes the midterm and final exams, will pass the class with at least a D, even if their performance is uniformly unsatisfactory. Grades of F are only given to students who essentially stopped participating but did not drop the class. There are not many F's, and they are no surprise when received.
Questions, Suggestions, and Complaints to the StaffEmail can be sent to the staff or to individual staff members using the addresses on the staff contact page.