Math 10120 - Finite Mathematics

Spring 2018, Section 01

Instructor: David Galvin


NOTE: all course policies announced here are subject to change up to the first day of semester!

About the course

The course is broadly about chance and strategy.

We begin with probability, the mathematical language that allows us to talk precisely about experiments involving chance. We start with an exposition of some useful and efficient techniques for counting. Next we apply these techniques to the calculation of probabilities or the chances of various events occurring. Finally, we do a little bit of statistics: making sensible inferences about a whole population, when all we have to work with is information about a small sample.

We then move on to optimization, the study of what choices you should make to maximize some payoff (or minimize some payout), when various constraints are placed on the choices that you get to make. We start by examining systems of linear equations and their solutions. We then look at optimization problems, which involve getting the most out of limited resources. Often such problems can be reduced to solving systems of linear equations.

We end with some game theory, or the mathematics of strategy. When you play a game with other players, you want to maximize your return, or minimize your loss, but you have to keep in mind that your opponents also have the same objectives. We use matrices, optimization and probability to find optimal strategies for some games.

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Basic information

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Four times weekly throughout the semester, there will be (voluntary) two-hour tutorials led by Nick Rosshirt (nrosshir at nd dot edu) and Nic DeBickero (ndebicke at nd dot edu). Locations and times of the tutorials are as follows:

The tutorials are a great opportunity to ask questions about anything in the course that is causing you trouble.

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Textbook options

We will cover material from the book

Finite Mathematics, 8th Edition, Rolf (Hybrid Edition with access to online homework).

You may either

purchase a hard copy of this book along
with access to the e-book and online homework


purchase access to the online homework system
and use the e-book that comes with it for reference.

Specifically, you have four purchasing options:

  1. Direct from publisher: Hybrid book with access to online homework and e-book, $237.95. The link is here.
  2. ND Bookstore, option 2: Single Term Access code for online homework and e-book (Enhanced WebAssign Access), $96. The link is here. (This is the ``Recommended Materials'' option on the ND bookstore website; it is the most economical option if you are happy to use an ebook.)
  3. ND Bookstore, option 1: Hybrid book with access to online homework and e-book (new), $259.75. The link is here. (This is the ``Required Materials'' option on the ND bookstore website, but is not strictly speaking required; all that is required is the WebAssign access.)
  4. Improvisational option: You may also purchase an access code online through WebAssign after you register for online homework, about $100 (this was the cost last spring). This includes an electronic copy of the book. If you also want a hard copy you can easily purchase a second-hand copy online fairly cheaply. Keep in mind that used copies of the hybrid book will not have an access code, since access codes are not transferable. You may register for online homework as soon as semester starts (January 16) and you have until January 30 to purchase and enter an access code before your account (and whatever homework you have completed to date) is erased.

Note that all options include access to WebAssign --- this is absolutely necessary.

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Weekly schedule

We will cover the following sections of Rolf's book, in the order listed:

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You will be marked out of 600 points, with the specific breakdown as follows:

Your marks on each of these components will be periodically updated on Sakai.

A total of 570 out of 600 points will earn you an A; 550 will earn you an A-; 530 a B+; 505 a B; 480 a B-; 455 a C+; 430 a C; and a total of 410 out of 600 points will earn you a C-.

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Late assignments

All homework must be done by the due date to receive credit, and all quizzes and exams must be taken at the assigned times.

I will not consider requests for homework extensions --- the online homework system gives ample time after each section has been covered to complete each assignment, so if you have to be off-campus, I expect that you manage your travel time in such a way that you can complete your assignments in a timely manner, and if you have computer problems I expect you to go to a computer cluster on campus to complete your online homework.

I will not consider requests for make-up quizzes and/or exams, except in the case of legitimate, university-sanctioned conflicts. It is your responsibility to let me know the full details of these conflicts before they cause you to miss an assignment! Excepting university-sanctioned conflicts, it is your responsibility to be in class for all scheduled lectures and mid-semester exams; in particular, you should not plan travel on the morning of any of the Thursdays on which mid-semester exams are scheduled.

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WebAssign/Homework information

We are using WebAssign for online homework; there will be no paper homework.

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Quiz 6, Monday April 30, solutions.

Quiz 5, Monday April 16, solutions.

Quiz 4, Wednesday March 28, solutions.

Quiz 3, Monday March 5, solutions.

Quiz 2, Friday February 23, solutions.

Quiz 1, Monday February 5, solutions.

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The final exam is set for Tuesday, May 8, 1.45pm-3.45pm and it will take place in Hayes-Healy 117 (not the same room as for the midterms, but the same building).

Review material:

Office hours/review sessions:

Exam 3, Thursday, April 19, 8am-9.15am, Hayes-Healy 231.

Exam 2, Thursday, March 8, 8am-9.15am.

Exam 1, Thursday, February 8, 8am-9.15am.

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Supplementary material

Here is where I will post any supplementary material for the course.

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Honor code: You have all taken the Honor Code pledge, to not participate in or tolerate academic dishonesty. For this course, that means that although you may discuss homework assignments with your colleagues, you must complete each WebAssign assignment yourself, all work that you present in quizzes and exams must be your own, and you will adhere to all announced exam policies.

Class conduct: The lecture room should be a place where you should feel free to engage in lively discussion about the course topic; don't be shy! But non course related interruptions should be kept to a minimum. In particular, you should turn off or switch to silent all phones, etc., before the start of class. If for some good reason you need to have your phone on during class, please mention it to me in advance.

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