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This subject offers an introduction to Discrete Mathematics oriented toward Computer Science and Engineering. There are two class sessions this spring:
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, mailing lists, 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 at 2:15PM on Friday. Each problem must be fastened and submitted separately. 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. Solutions to the problem sets will be posted immediately after the due date. Consequently, late problem sets will not be accepted. 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.
Problem sets count for 25% of the final grade. To reduce problem sets as a source of pressure, and as a reflection of their intended educational role, missed credit on a pset (up to 50%) automatically shifts to the midterm or final, whichever occurs first after the pset due date. For example,
If a student missed 4 points on a 10 point pset due before the midterm, then 40% of the weight of that pset gets added to the weight of their midterm.
Aiming for half credit on problem sets with the intention of making up the missing half on subsequent exams is a risky strategy, especially since grades on exams tend to be lower than on problem sets.
You are encouraged to collaborate on problem sets as you do on teams in class. Each submitted problem must be accompanied by a Collaboration Statement No problem will be given credit until a collaboration statement is supplied.
Graders' time is limited, and when in doubt about an unclear student solution, they are instructed to deny credit. If you are concerned that your problem set has been graded incorrectly, talk to your LA or TA after class. If you are not satisfied with their response, you may appeal to the lecturer.
Online Tutor ProblemsThere are weekly Online Tutor problems due before class on specified dates. These consist of straightforward questions that provide useful feedback about the assigned material. Tutor problems should take about 20 minutes after the reading has been completed. (Some students prefer to try the tutor problems before doing the reading, which is fine.)
Like team problem-solving in class, online tutor problems are graded solely on participation: students receive full credit as long as they try the problem, even if their answer is wrong. Tutor problems count for 5% of the final grade.NB annotation system, which is an online collaborative system designed for questions and discussions of interest to other classmates or staff about these written course materials.
As part of the first homework assignment you must add comments on each of Chapter 1－3 of the text in the NB annotation system by the end of the second week of class (Feb. 15). After that, but NB use is optional, but we encourage you to use it as your first venue for questions relating to the class text.
The class also has a Piazza forum structured to get you help fast and efficiently from classmates and staff. With Piazza you may post questions－both administrative and subject related－to the entire class or to just the staff. You are likely to get faster response through Piazza than by directly emailing staff members. Posting questions or comments to Piazza is optional.
Collaboration and Outside Sources
We encourage you to collaborate on homework. Study groups can be a big help in mastering course material, besides being fun and a good way to make friends. However, you must write up your solutions by yourself in your own words. Your class team members would be a natural source of collaborators, but whom to you collaborate with is up to you.
You must cite all your collaborators cited and any sources beyond this term's course materials that you consulted while working on a problemfor example, an "expert" consultant other than 6.042 staff, or another text must begiven a proper scholarly citation, which you should include with the collaboration statement accompanying your submission.
Most class materials other than problem solutions are available for Spring '12, and Fall '12. Materials are also available on OCW for Fall '10, Spring '10, Fall '05, and Spring '05. A problem from these prior terms may occasionally be assigned again without change. If a student finds a published solution, he or she 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.
Weekly MiniquizzesA Miniquiz, usually 15 minutes, will be given in class most Mondays. You are allowed to use a one-sided crib sheet during the quiz. Miniquizzes count for a total of 10% of the final grade.
Material to study for a miniquiz is very well defined: a miniquiz will consist basically of excerpts of problems assigned the previous week, including class, pset, and online tutor problems. Students can prepare for a miniquiz simply by reviewing the posted problem solutions for the previous week.
Midterm ExamA 55 minute exam covering all previous weeks will be given in class on Monday, March 18. A two-sided crib sheet is allowed for the midterm. The midterm exam will count for a total of 10% of the final grade.
MicroquizzesA 1－2 minute microquiz will be given at the beginning of nearly every class unless there is already another quiz. Their purpose is to verify that students have looked at assigned material for the day. The microquizzes overall count for 5% of the final grade.
To write your microquiz solutions, you are expected to bring a piece of paper (8.5 x 11in) and a pen to class. Microquizzes will be closed book; no cribsheets. You may fill out your name, session time (11AM or 2:30PM), and heading "Micro-quiz (month day), 2013" in advance.
You can try to make up for a missed or poor microquiz grade by proposing a really good new micro-quiz or mini-quiz question on the same or a subsequent topic and sending it to 6042-staff(at)csail.mit.edu. The bar for makeup credit will be set high, so don't count on this as a backup for being unprepared.
FinalThere will be a standard 3-hour final exam on Monday, May 20, 1:30 to 4:30 PM in Johnson Track. You are allowed to bring two front and back crib sheet (4 sides) for the final. This exam is worth 25% of the final course grade.
GradesThe lowest miniquiz score, lowest problem set score, and lowest three team problem-solving scores will not count in grade calculation. This effectively gives everyone a miniquiz, a problem set, and 3 team problem-solving sessions they can miss without excuse or penalty.
Grades for the course will be based on the following weighting:
Note that missed credit (up to a cap of 50%) on problem sets spills over as increased weight of the midterm & final, as explained in the Problem Sets section above.
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.