Combinatorics (Math 180, Spring 2014)

Instructor: Igor Pak
See email instructions below.

Class schedule: MWF 1:00 - 1:50, MS 5118
Recitation: Tu 1:00 - 1:50, MS 5118

Office Hours: M 3-4 pm, MS 6125 or by appointment.

Teaching Assistant: Pietro Kreitlon Carolino (see his website for email)
TA Office Hours: M 2-3, Tu 12-1 and 2-3 pm., MS 2903

Textbooks: J. Matousek, J. Nesetril (MN), Invitation to Discrete Mathematics, Oxford Univ Press, Second Edition
MN Table of content (see also MN Amazon page)

Tucker's book is recommended for supplemental reading.

Additional reading will be posted on this page if necessary.

Grading: Homeworks: 20%, Midterm: 20%, Final: 60%.

Difficulty: This is an introductory course in Combinatorics and Graph Theory. The students are expected to learn the theory and solve problems on the homeworks. The problems will be both computational and require some proof abilities.

Other expectations: I would guess that the average student should spend about 8-10 hours per week outside of class to get a decent grade. Much of this time should be spent on the homeworks, but some should be spent on reading the book and absorbing the class material.


We will cover many of the book sections, splitting the course between Enumerative Combinatorics and Graph Theory, in roughly equal parts. Although much of the material will follow the textbook, I will change the order of sections and some additional material will be presented in class, so class participation is very important. More specific info on the order of sections will be posted soon.

Home Assignments

The weekly home assignments will be given on Wednesdays to be returned also on Wednesdays. No assignment will be given over the week before the midterm. Worst HA will be dropped from the final score. The assignments will be posted here (on the course web page) in .pdf format. Unless announced otherwise, you need to return them in writing right before the Wed class. No late assignments will be accepted.

HA1 is here, due Wed April 9, 2014.
HA2 is here, due Wed April 16, 2014.
HA3 is here, due Wed April 23, 2014.
HA4 is here, due Wed April 30, 2014.
HA5 is here, due Fri May 23, 2014.
HA6 is here, due Fri June 6, 2014.

Midterm and Final Exams

There will be one in-class midterm and one final.
Midterm: May 5, 2014, in class
Final: Thu June 12, 2014, 11:30 am - 2:30 pm.

Midterm problems: are here.

Midterm solutions: Problem 1, Problem 2, Problem 3, Problem 4, Problem 5.

Collaboration Policy

For the homeworks, you can form discussion groups of up to 5 people each. In fact, I would like to encourage you to do that. You can discuss problems but have to write your own separate solutions. You should write the list of people in you group on top of each HW.

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Last updated 3/31/2014