Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session


18.02 Multivariable Calculus


This course is an introduction to discrete applied mathematics. The topics presented are generally grouped into units covering between one and two weeks. These units include probability, counting, linear programming, number-theoretic algorithms, sorting, data compression, and error-correcting codes.


There is no textbook; a full set of lecture notes is provided.


This is a CI-M (Communication Intensive in the Major) course, and thus teaches students to write mathematics. This component will take the form of writing assignments in homework problems; one of them will be a relatively long (several pages) term paper whose writing will take several iterations spread between mid October and the end of the Fall term.

The homework assignments (the problem sets and writing assignments) must all be submitted electronically (the only exceptions are the pre-recitation assignments, see the recitation section below). Carefully read the instructions on each problem set. Homework will generally be due one week after it is assignment.

Writing assignments submitted electronically must be word processed (see the section below on LaTeX and other word processing programs), and should be submitted in PDF format. Hand-drawn figures are permitted (for some problems, figures may be quite useful). You may draw your figures on the printed output and scan it in, or scan in your figures and include them in your document. If you do the rest of your problem sets by hand, you must write them legibly and scan them in with enough resolution for them to be easily legible. If they are barely legible, we may ask you to resubmit them.

There will also be 3 quizzes throughout the term.

Collaboration Policy

Collaboration on homework is permitted, but you first need to think about the problems on your own and you must write the solutions yourself; no copying is permitted. For the writing assignments, you may seek feedback from classmates and others, but the writing must be your own. You must list the names of your collaborators on your submitted homework, or list you had none. We ask that you not refer to solutions from previous incarnations of the course, or from solution banks.


There is a 1-hour weekly recitation in which we will both discuss communication and further explain the course material, especially as it relates to communication. Attendance in this recitation is mandatory. You may miss one recitation unexcused without penalty. A second unexcused absence will result in a reduction in your grade and a warning; if you miss any recitations without an excuse after the warning, you will fail the class.

For some of the recitations, there will be a pre-recitation assignment. These will be due in recitation and should not be submitted electronically.

LaTeX / Word Processing

LaTeX is a document preparation system which is very good at handling mathematical equations, and which has become a standard in several fields, including mathematics, physics, and computer science. If you are planning to go into one of these fields, we encourage you to learn it, and we will provide resources to help you do so.

There are other scientific fields for which LaTeX is not the standard, and if you are in one of these majors, there is not really any need for you to learn it. In this case, feel free to use Microsoft® Word or another word processing system for your writing assignments and term paper. We do encourage you to figure out how to do equations properly in Word. Without any extra add-on's, the way Microsoft® Word handles equations is really quite cumbersome, but there is software available that fixes this. Unfortunately, we don't have any recommendations because we use LaTeX. But, remember, in all cases, you must save the file as a PDF before submitting it electronically.


The grade will be made up of problem sets and writing assignments (55%), and three quizzes (15% each). The homework will include writing assignments, some of which will have to be revised after we give comments on them. Depending on their length, the writing assignments in the homework may be weighted more heavily than the rest of the problems.

Problem sets and writing assignments 55
3 Quizzes @ 15% each 45