Instructor: Joseph O'Rourke
Textbook: Discrete and Computational Geometry, S. Devadoss & J. O'Rourke, 2011. This is a new textbook I coauthored with a Math professor at Williams College.
Location: Ford Hall 342
Class Times: TuTh 1:00-2:30PM (Note: I will not consume the whole time block to 2:50, but I will always stay the full duration to answer questions).
Overview: The field now called "discrete and computational geometry" (DCG) sits at the intersection of pure mathematics—math pursued for its own sake—and applications-driven computer science. It is a vibrant, growing field, growing both in pure math (e.g., with new advances in computational topology) and in computer science applications (e.g., to computer graphics). My plan is to pursue the two sides of the DCG coin in parallel, in a way that will interest math majors, computer science majors, engineering majors, and others. I will arrange that the assignments and exams have two "tracks," one emphasizing the mathematics, one the computation. The former will require proofs, the latter computer programs.
Prerequisites: Ideally a student should have taken both MTH 153 Discrete Mathematics and CSC 111 Introduction to Computer Science through Programming. However, the former is not necessary if the student emphasis the CS track, and the latter is not necessary if the student emphasizes the Math track. Calculus will help but is not essential. If you are uncertain about your preparation, please contact me.
How it "Counts": For CS majors, the course counts as a 200-level course covering either Theory or Programming (but not both). For Math majors the course counts as a 200-level elective; it is cross-listed in MTH. For any student, the course carries the Latin Honors 'M' designation.
Enrollments: The course has no enrollment limit. All are welcome!
Programming Language: For the CS majors, I will generally assume knowledge of Python, but in fact you can use any programming language you know. The material is in a sense language-independent.
Course Structure: We meet two times a week; there is no lab, although
we will have occasional "minilabs" during class time. There will be one assignment
per week, due (generally) each Thursday at midnight. Ideally you get started over the weekend and are prepared to ask questions in class Tuesday. Collaboration is permitted—even encouraged—on assignments. Precise details in the detailed schedule. Use
pass=274 for web access-restricted files.
Submitting Assignments: Via the Moodle page for this course. (If you are registered for the course you should be automatically enrolled to access Moodle.)
Exams: Two of the assignments will be one-week take-home "exams," which are very much like assignments except that (a) they focus more on understanding rather than "doing," and (b) unlike assignments, there is no collaboration permitted. You can view the assignment-exams as more comprehensive assignments that count slightly more than a normal assignment.
Project: There is a final project, due on the last day of the exam period. (Here collaboration permitted.)
|n Assignments (n perhaps 7 or 8)||
|2 Assignment-exams (take-home)|
O'Rourke Office Hours & Schedule