Welcome to the Fall 2018 web page for CS173, lecture A

CS Proficiency Exam, click here

Important announcements

Final exam solutions and rubric here

Final exam review session, held by Meghan, on Thursday December 13, 1-3 PM in 1320 DCL.
Extra office hours: Thursday, December 13, 12-1 PM and Friday December 14, 12-1 PM (in the usual place, next to SC 3102)

Basic information

Please note that this course is different from the B lecture. We will use different textbooks. We will cover most of the same material, but in a different order.


Your homework assignments will regularly include material that you should be doing by typing mathematics and then uploading a PDF. It can be acceptable to do this in the textbox provided in Moodle but this can make it difficult for the TAs and CAs to grade (i.e., it's not easy to read mathematics that isn't properly formatted). Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to learn LaTeX, so that you can create and compile latex documents, and then upload PDFs produced using LaTeX. I have provided LaTeX for some of the lectures to make it easy for you to learn this. You can also use Overleaf as a way of easily creating and compiling LaTeX.


The lectures for the course (including reading assignments, presentations provided, and dates of the midterm exams) will be posted here. If you miss a lecture, please make sure to look at the webpage with the posted lecture (in PDF or PPT) and also talk with one or more of the other students in the class to find out if something was covered in class that wasn't in the posted lecture. Similarly, if you miss a lecture, please come to my office hour to find out what you missed; I'll be glad to present that material to you.


We will set up Piazza for you to use. However, please try to be careful in how you use this. In particular, don't use it to get solutions to homework questions, and don't post solutions to homework or exam questions since it's possible some student might not yet have submitted their answers. The course TAs will be monitoring Piazza regularly and will respond to your questions. Please see piazza.com/illinois/fall2018/cs173alecture.

Please attend office hours!

You are strongly encouraged to attend office hours -- especially mine! If you are considering applying to graduate school and might want a recommendation letter, please see me early in the semester. (By the way, going to faculty office hours can have unexpected benefits -- I have written many letters of recommendation for graduate school and fellowships for former CS173 undergrads who attended office hours. Kodi Collins, one of my former CS 173 students, came to office hours with questions and ended up joining my research group! )

Textbook, Syllabus, etc.

The main focus of the course is learning how to prove theorems, but also (of course) to read and write mathematics. Thus, these themes repeat throughout all the material presented in the course, even though the focus of the attention may seem to be on different topics.

You should read the assigned reading and lecture material before attending class!

The class textbook is Discrete Mathematics and its Applications (7th edition) by Kenneth Rosen, which is available in Grainger Library, and available for purchase at the Bookstore.


Attendance: Participation in discussion and lecture section is expected (and 10% of the grade is based on discussion section participation). Furthermore, the lectures will include material that is not in the textbook nor in the reading materials! Therefore, you are responsible for all material presented in class. If you miss class for any reason, please make a point of getting notes from another student, attend office hours, and download the class presentation (PDF or PPTX). We do not take attendance in the lecture, but we will take attendance in the discussion section. Even so, you will not be penalized for missing up to two discussion sections (though note that this includes the first discussion section, which you may not have been at if you added the class late).

You should read the assigned reading and lecture material before attending class!

Late homeworks or reading quizzes: Late homeworks or reading quizzes are not accepted, but the bottom grade of each category is dropped. Make-ups for the midterms or final exam will only be permitted in the case of documented illness, or similar unavoidable problem.

Illness policy: In addition to dropping the worst homework and reading quiz, I will also allow you to miss one homework or reading quiz due to illness - even without medical documentation (send email with an explanation to receive this exception). If you receive this exception, then your assignment grade for that category will be based on the other assignments for that category. If your illness prevents you from doing more than one assignment in a given category, then exceptions may also be granted, but documentation will be required. More generally, illness that lasts more than one week is likely to have substantial impact on your ability to do well in the class; please make arrangements to get extra help to catch up if this is the case.

How your final course grade is calculated:

Midterm exams: There will be two 75-minute midterm exams that will be held in the evenings. These will be closed book, and will be largely similar to the homework assignments. You will not be allowed to bring a calculator or cellphone to the exam. Please be on time, and be respectful of the other students by being quiet during the exam. If you leave early, do so quietly so that you do not disturb the other students. Raise your hand if you think one of the problems is unclearly stated. The average for Midterm 1 was 86%. The median for Midterm 2 was 92, and the average was 88.5. The histograms for the two midterms are given below. Grades between 90-100 get some kind of A, 80-89 get B's, 70-79 get C's, 60-69 get D's, and below 60 get F.

Midterm prep documents: (Midterm 1 prep document) (Midterm 2 prep document)

Room assignment for Midterm 2:

Homework and Reading Quizzes:

Final Exam information


We will use Moodle for homework and reading quizzes. All homeworks and reading quizzes can be submitted earlier and then revised -- and the final submission is the one that counts. You will not get feedback on the submissions until after the deadline for the assignment.

Most of the homeworks and reading quizzes will be autograded, but there will also be times where you need to provide a written out proof or derivation. For this, you'll have the option of typing your solution directly in the box provided, or uploading a PDF. The PDF is probably the better way to go, since you can then write mathematics using latex. Please note that it is not acceptable to write out your homework, take a photograph of it, and then upload the photograph - that is rarely legible. Also, please make sure to put your name on your written solutions, since we might print them before grading.

Honors (CS 196)

Please see this page if you are joining the honors section (CS 196).

Interested in doing research?

If you are interested in doing research, please read this, and then write to me or come see me. I love having research students, and am delighted when they succeed. For example, Kodi Collins, a student from a former CS 173, did research with me and published a paper: see PASTA for Proteins, Kodi Collins and Tandy Warnow. She is now a PhD student at UCLA doing Computer Science!