This page focuses on the course 18.310 Principles of Discrete Applied Mathematics as it was taught by Professor Michel Goemans, Dr. Lorenzo Orechhia, Dr. Richard Peng, and Susan Ruff in Fall 2013.
This course introduced students to topics such as probability, counting, linear programming, number-theoretic algorithms, sorting, data compression, and error-correcting codes. It was also a Communication-Intensive in the Major course.
In the following pages, Michel Goemans, Peter Shor (a colleague in the Mathematics Department), Lorenzo Orecchia, and Susan Ruff describe various aspects of how 18.310 Principles of Discrete Applied Mathematics was developed and taught.
The students' grades were based on the following activities:
The instructors discuss their assessment insights here.
About 50% sophomores and 50% juniors.
Almost exclusively Mathematics majors or students with a double major in Mathematics and another concentration.
Many students entered the class with limited experience writing mathematical proofs.
Enrollment in the recitations was limited to about 20 students in order to enable instructors to provide students with adequate writing support; this cap largely determined the overall enrollment cap of 70-80 students in the course.
During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
Students completed problem sets and writing assignments, including a term paper.