CSE 191

Discrete Structures


Spring Semester 2010


Professor Selman; Office: Bell 223; selman@ buffalo.edu; 645-4742


M W F 11—11:50 AM; HOCH 114


Office hours:  I will announce office hours as soon as I know my complete schedule.


TAs will assist and lead the recitation sections. 


Recitation sections:  You must be enrolled in and attend one of the recitation sections.  Recitations sections will meet weekly beginning Tuesday, January 19, the second week of classes.  (Classes do not meet Jan. 18.)


Prerequisite:   CSE 113 or CSE 115.  We will not write programs in this course.  Nevertheless, the prerequisite is very important.


Textbook:  Kenneth H. Rosen, Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications, Sixth Edition, McGraw Hill, which comes packaged with:  Grossman, Jerrold, Student Solutions Guide to Accompany Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications, Sixth Edition, McGraw Hill.


Grades will be based on a midterm exam during the semester, quizzes, and a cumulative final exam.  There are no “extra credit” assignments. 


Midterm Exam 40%, Quizzes 20%, Final Exam 40%.


I use the following grading scale:  A  85%--100%, B  75%--84%,  C  74%--60%, D  50%--59%,  F  below 50%.  There is no “curve” in grading.  Students need to demonstrate knowledge of the course material based on the exams and quizzes.


Midterm Monday, March 1


Final Exam:  Do not plan to travel home at the end of the semester until final exam week is over.  I do not know when the final exam for this course will be scheduled, and I will not give an early final exam to any student.  




#1        Friday, January 22

#6        Friday, March 19

#2        Friday, January 29

#7        Friday, March 26

#3        Friday, February 5

#8        Friday, April 9

#4        Friday, February 12

#9       Friday, April 16

#5        Friday, February 19





There are a total of nine quizzes.  Each quiz takes 10 to 20 minutes.  I will drop the two lowest grades and count the remaining seven. 


Quizzes are not given automatically at either the beginning or at the end of a class period.  It is your responsibility to be in class when a quiz is given.  If you miss a quiz, that quiz becomes one of your two lowest quizzes (so no penalty ensues).  However, if you should miss three or more quizzes, these will count as zero. No make-up quizzes will be given. Do not request a make-up if you miss a quiz.


To repeat:  I will drop the two lowest grades and only the two lowest grades.  There are no reasons for dropping more than the two lowest grades. 


All exams and quizzes are closed book, closed notes, and open mind!  Also, regarding the midterm exam and the final exam, no makeup exam is offered unless one is able to justify why he or she needs to miss it.  If at all possible, please be sure to let me know before the exam. 


Attendance:  Regular attendance is required.  You must be on time.  It is not acceptable to come to class twenty minutes late or to leave twenty minutes early.  You must attend the recitation sections also.  (Please stay home if you have the flu or are otherwise sick.)  You might want to know that there is a strong correlation between regular attendance and performance on the final exam. 


You are not required to attend class on days listed in the university calendar as major religious holy days (although I assume that you practice at most one religion).


Homework:  You learn this subject by studying your class notes, reading the textbook, and doing homework.  Success on the quizzes and exams depends largely on skill with homework.  TAs will be available to help you with homework problems and they will review homework solutions in your recitation sections.  Also, they will attempt to correct your homework solutions. 


I will collect homework solutions every Friday in class, and plan to return solutions to you the following week.  Please note that this activity is to help you learn the material only.  Homework solutions will not count toward your final grade.  However, this activity is important.  Students who do not regularly hand in homework assignments and attend recitations do not perform well in this course.  I urge you to do the homework assignments.  You cannot learn the material by attending class only.


Homework assignments are due in class every Friday.  Hand in the assignments that are given the week before.  We will not accept late assignments.  Please remember to print your name on every page that you hand in.  Also, please print neatly—the TAs cannot correct what they cannot read—and get into the habit of using a sharp pencil for your work.  A ballpoint pen is not appropriate for mathematical or technical work. 


What homework is due on Friday?  This is the question we receive most often. I will assign homework exercises as I cover the material.  You will write the assignments down, keep a record, and hand in the solutions the following week.


It is not always possible for the TAs to correct your written assignments because of their other course responsibilities, and because they are students also.  However, they will make every effort to do so and they will make sure that you have access to the correct solutions.


Academic Honesty:  The Department's policy statement is available at



With regard to homework exercises, let me note again that they do not count toward your grade, with the exception that you must work at them and hand in your best effort.  All of the quizzes and exams that you hand in must be the result of your own independent effort.  Work that you claim to be yours must be yours.  If one student permits another student to copy, then both are equally guilty.  All instances of academic dishonesty will result in an F in this course.  There are no minor infractions.  Unfortunately, students have failed because of copying from another student while taking a quiz or exam, or by changing an answer on a returned quiz or exam, and then asking for additional points. 


Time Management:  I urge you to read the appropriate sections in the book before class and then to reread the section after class.  The quality of reading is important—reading mathematics requires going very lowly and carefully.  I find that I need to write the material as I read it in order to force me to think it through. 


Similarly, take notes in class and then recopy your notes after class.  All of this takes time, and doing the homework takes much more time.


A typical course is designed to require three hours outside of class for each hour spent in class.  Thus, a four-hour class is supposed to fill up 16 hours of your week.  If, for example, you are carrying a 16-credit course load, then your total time obligation is 64 hours each week.  If you are taking courses that require you to write programs or do much homework, then, as you probably already know, these may require even more time.  If your academic schedule requires 64 hours each week, you need to average nine hours each day.  That does not leave much time for anything else.  Therefore, if, for example, for economic reasons, you need to work during the academic semester, seriously consider lowering your academic workload accordingly.  Otherwise, something will suffer, and the something that suffers usually is academic performance. 


Incompletes (the grade of “I”) will not in general be given.  This is reserved for the rare circumstance that prevents a student from completing the work in the course.  University and Department policy dictates that an “I” can be given only if both of the following conditions are met:  (i) Only a small amount of work remains, such as the final exam and one or two assignments, and (ii) the student has a passing average in the work completed.  In such a circumstance, the student will be given instructions and a deadline for completing the work, which is usually no more than 30 days past the end of the semester.


Incompletes cannot be given as a shelter for poor grades.  It is the student’s responsibility to resign from the course in a timely manner if doing poorly. The last day to resign is Friday, March 26.


Discrete Structures treats foundational material for further studies in computer science.  Topics include logic and proofs, sets, functions, relations, recursion, recurrence relation, mathematical induction, and graphs. 


Newsgroup  You need to have an account on a UNIX machine.  Get into the practice of reading the newsgroup sunyab.cse.191.  We will keep you informed of course business this way. 


Webpage   The address for the course page is



Obstruction/Disruption   Please refer to the Web page