Course Syllabus

Note about this syllabus and ELMS page

As of Monday, 01-30, this syllabus and ELMS page are common across all sections of CMSC250.



Jason Filippou (, sections 0101-0108

William Gasarch (, sections 0201-0304


  • Jason: AVW 1201
  • Bill: AVW 3245

Office hours: 

  • Jason: Wed 9am - 1pm
  • Bill: Mon 11:00-12:00, WThu 12:30-2:00




These roles are subject to slight changes as we figure out the workload of our TAs. Note that by tutor we refer to what the department of Computer Science has traditionally been calling a "teaching TA".

Name Role
Aditya Acharya Tutor
Alex Brassel HW Grader
Andrea Hopkins Tutor
Austin Le HW Grader / Assignment Proofreader
Erik Metz HW Grader / Assignment Proofreader
Ian Hammer Tutor
Ioana Bercea HW Grader
Joon Kim Tutor
Justin Shen Tutor
Katherine Cordwell Tutor
Katherine Scola Tutor
Mahsa Derakshan HW Grader
Meena Sengottuvelu HW Grader
Owen Hoffman Tutor
Pei-Jo Yang Tutor
Phong Dinh Tutor 
Rachael Zehrung Tutor
Sina Dehghani HW Grader
Sina Mirnejad Tutor
Siqi Cao HW Grader
Suraj Nair HW Grader
Yan Kang Tutor


 Jason: Tue, Thu, SKN (Skinner) 0200, from 11:00 to 12:15

Bill: Tue, Thu AVW 1115 09:30-10:45 (0201-0204), 2:00 - 3:15 (0301-0304)


Discussion Sessions

Discussion occurs on Mondays and Wednesdays, in specific times that can be accessed through this Testudo link. Every section is assigned a tutor ("teaching TA"), as follows:

Section code Meeting time (Mon / Wed)  CSIC Room # Tutor
0101 10am-10:50am 3120 Owen
0102 11am-11:50am 3120 Aditya
0103 12pm - 12:50pm 3118 Katherine S.
0104 1pm-1:50pm 3118 Katherine S.
0105 12pm-12:50pm 2117 Aditya
0106 10am-10:50am 1121 Yan
0107 11am-11:50am 1121 Yan
0108 2pm-2:50pm 1121 Andrea
0301 8am-8:50am 3120
0302 9am-9:50am 3120
0303 2pm-2:50pm 3120
0304 3pm-3:50pm 3120
0401 8am-8:50am 2117 Sina M
0402 9am-9:50am 2117
0403 5pm-5:50pm 1122 Katherine C.
0404 5pm-5:50pm 2117 Peijo


Homework Grader Assignment

Below is a concrete association of sessions to a homework grader: 


Section Homework Grader
0101 Meena
0102 Suraj
0103 Ioana
0104 Ioana
0105 Suraj
0106 Sina D
0107 Sina D
0108 Meena
0301 Mahsa
0302 Erik
0303 Siqi
0304 Austin
0401 Mahsa
0402 Siqi
0403 Alex
0404 Alex

Office Hours

All office hours are taking place in the undergraduate office hours room, AVW 1112 (right across the undergraduate office in A.V. Williams), except for the instructors', which take place in their respective offices, outlined above. Please note that, for increased accuracy, we outline our office hours in half-hour slots.


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
09-09:30am Rachael Siqi / Yan Jason Siqi Yan
09:30-10am K. Scola / Rachael Siqi / Yan Jason / K. Scola Siqi Yan
10am-10:30am K. Scola / Rachael/ Pei-Jo Ioana / Yan Jason / K.Scola Ioana Peijo / Yan
10:30am-11am K. Scola / Pei-Jo / Bill Ioana / Yan Jason / K. Scola Ioana Peijo / Yan
11am-11:30am K. Scola / Bill Ioana Jason / K. Scola Ioana
11:30am-12pm Bill Ioana Jason  Ioana K. Cordwell
12pm-12:30pm Meena / Mahsa Mahsa Jason / Erik K. Cordwell / Owen
12:30pm-1pm Meena / Mahsa Mahsa / Bill Jason / Erik Bill K. Cordwell / Owen
1pm-1:30pm Meena / Mahsa Mahsa / Bill Erik / Austin Bill K. Cordwell / Owen / Austin
1:30pm-2pm Meena / Mahsa Mahsa / Bill Erik / Austin Bill Owen / Austin
2pm-2:30pm Suraj / Justin Andrea / Phong Ian / Justin Sina D. / Suraj Alex
2:30pm-3pm Suraj / Justin Andrea / Phong Ian / Justin Sina D. / Suraj Alex
3:00pm-3:30pm Suraj / Joon (starting 03-20) Andrea Ian Sina D. / Suraj Alex
3:30pm-4pm Suraj / Joon (starting 03-20) Andrea Ian Sina D. / Suraj Alex
4pm-4:30pm Phong / Aditya / Joon (starting 03-20) Joon (through 03-14) Aditya Sina D.  Sina M.
4:30pm-5pm Phong / Aditya / Joon (starting 03-20) Joon (through 03-14) Aditya Sina D.  Sina M.
5pm-5:30pm Aditya Joon (through 03-14) Aditya Sina D.  Sina M.
5:30pm-6pm Aditya Joon (through 03-14) Aditya Sina D.  Sina M.

Description of Assignments

  1. Weekly homework assignments. Those will be released on Tuesdays and are always due 5 minutes before the relevant Tuesday lecture. They will be compiled into PDF form and uploaded on ELMS. For information on how to create a PDF that will be acceptable for our purposes, see the section "Uploading your homework assignments" below. 
  2. Online quizzes on ELMS (usually 2 per week, after lecture). Those are meant to assess your understanding of the material presented in lecture and will be auto-graded. They will be posted after lecture and due 5 minutes before the subsequent lecture. You will only need a computer with a web browser and an Internet connection. 
  3. Attendance in discussion sessions. Starting with the second discussion session, our tutors will be holding (signed) attendance in the discussion sessions. 
  4. Examinations. We will have 2 midterm exams and 1 final exam (see "Exams" section below). Those will be our only "summative" assessments for this semester. They will be written in pen (or pencil) and paper and will be handed out to proctors after the exam time. 
  5. Ungraded assignments.  Those are meant to help you out with elements such as assessing your mathematical background, learning \LaTeX  or practicing the various different perks of ELMS. 


Major Scheduled Grading Events (Exams)

  • Midterm 1:  Wednesday, 03-15, 05:30-07:30pm, various locations 
  • Midterm 2: Tuesday, 04-25, 05:30-07:30pm, during class time, in the relevant sections' classrooms! (Updated 03-26)
  • Final: 05-16, 4-6pm (location TBA by central scheduling mid-semester)

Rooms for the first midterm:

  • SECTIONS 0101, 0102, 0103, 0104 will go to SKN0200 
  • SECTIONS 0105, 0106, 0107, 0108, 0301 will go to CHM1407
  • SECTIONS 0302, 0303, 0304, 0401, 0402, 0403, 0404 will go to BRB1101.
  • People who are in need of either make-ups or ADS accommodations have been individually contacted.



This grading policy is subject to minor changes, up to 3% above or below for every one of the following assignment categories:

  • Homework assignments: 10%
  • Discussion Session attendance: 5%
  • Online ELMS Quizzes10%
  • Midterm 1: 20%
  • Midterm  2: 25%
  • Final: 30%

The course staff reserves the right to reduce the number of homeworks or quizzes on any given week, if deemed academically necessary.

University "Course-Related Policies" 

Starting with Fall 2016, the University has packaged certain campus-wide "course-related policies" into a single centralized webpage, which is traversable by navigating this link. Every course is required to link to these policies, which cover very important elements such as:

  • Excused absences (what are your rights, what are our responsibilities), including dates of projected religious observance.
  • Disability accommodations on campus
  • Code of Student Conduct and matters pertaining to Academic Integrity.
  • Grade contesting.
  • Mid-Term ("Early Warning") grades

It is the responsibility of every instructor on campus to link to the course-related policies page from the course syllabus. Those policies are part of this (and any other) syllabus and you should familiarize yourselves with them! We further specialize the "course-related policies" by virtue of the following rules:

  • Students who, because of a documented reason such as illness or religious observance, were unable to complete an ELMS quiz, can get an extension of up to two days for a full-credit submission.
  • Students who, because of a documented reason such as illness or religious observance, were unable to complete a homework assignment, can also be given an extension of up to two days for a full-credit submission, except if this extension would encompass the Monday following the Tuesday early submission of the homework (because on those Mondays tutors will typically give away the solutions during recitation). In those cases, the student can be excused from the submission of their homework, which means that their total homework grade will be calculated over the rest of their homework submissions, early or late.
  • Midterm exam make-ups will be given only up to one (1) week after the scheduled date.
  • The following is the process according to which Midterm grade contests will be made: 

    - If you receive the midterm back and there is a simple numerical mistake in terms of just ADDING UP the score then you can show it to the instructors during any of their office hours or e-mail them for a private meeting and they will take care of it for you.     

    - If you think a problem has been graded incorrectly, then:

1) In a blank piece of paper, write up NEATLY (typed preferred) why you think you deserve more points and staple that piece of paper in front of your midterm hardcopy.

2) Give your tutor (your recitation session TA) the hardcopy of your midterm with the relevant sheet of paper in your first recitation session after you are given back the midterm. NO MIDTERM REGRADE REQUESTS WILL BE CONSIDERED AFTER THAT RECITATION SESSION, UNLESS YOU HAVE HAD EXCUSED ABSENCES FROM THE RECITATION SESSIONS IN QUESTION, in which case you will still have to turn in your request to us within two days! For example: 

- Sandro has an excused absence from a Monday recitation session where the physical midterm hardcopies are re-distributed, so he gets his exam Wednesday. He has until Friday to submit his re-grade request, as stipulated above, to the instructors.

3) You are NOT to argue with a grader in person. This is for YOUR benefit since students in the heat of an argument often say really odd things (like "57 is a prime", see below).

4) (VERY IMPORTANT) If from what you say it seems you know LESS than we thought you can lose points. Here are two characteristic examples that really happened:

(a) The problem asks for a prime between 50 and 60. The students answers 57 and gets a 0 (3 divides 57). The student's regrade request argues that 57 IS a prime and hence he deserves credit. He then LOST 5 points.

(b) The problem asks for a quantifier statement true in the integers but not in the naturals. The student writes:

(\exists x)(\forall y)[ y\ge x](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx](&exists;x)(y)[yx]

This is incorrect- its true in \mathbb{N}ℕℕℕℕℕℕℕℕℕℕℕℕ but not in \mathbb{Z} ℤℤℤℤℤℤℤℤℤℤℤℤ. The teaching staff thought that the student probably misread the question during the heat of the exam, but despite this he did get it wrong and consequently received 0 points for the problem. However, in their regrade request, written NOT during a timed exam but in the comfort of their home, they insisted that the statement IS true in \mathbb{Z} ℤℤℤℤℤℤℤℤℤℤℤℤ but not in \mathbb{N} ℕℕℕℕℕℕℕℕℕℕℕℕ. They lost 5 MORE points. The instructors had been incorrect in assuming it was a misread, yet they proved to us that they knew less than we thought.


  • Students needing ADS accommodations are requested to provide the instructor with the necessary ADS forms during the schedule adjustment period, detailed on this webpage as being the first 10 days of lecture. 



This semester, we have a required textbook. This textbook is: 

Susanna Epp, Discrete Mathematics with Applications, 4th Edition, Brooks / Code publishing, ISBN-

13: 978-0495391326.

However, we do not require that you purchase the 4th edition of the book new (the cost of the hardcover can go all the way up to $350 through online retailers like Amazon). Other books that the instructional staff consider good choices are:

  • Kenneth Rosen, Discrete Mathematics and its Applications, 7th edition, McGraw Hill, ISBN-13: 978-0-07-338309-5 
  • Thomas Koshy, Discrete Mathematics with Applications, 1st edition, Elsevier, ISBN-13: 978-0124211803. (out of print, can only be found used online or in the UMCP library system)

Students who want to have access to extra material for practice are encouraged to purchase, rent or borrow any edition of these books. 


Uploading your homework assignments

We only allow PDF format for the uploading of your homework assignments, whose description will also be supplied in PDF format, prepared with the document preparation system \LaTeX. We can think of four different ways to submit your homework assignments:

  1. \LaTeX ("lah-tech"; highly encouraged) The best way to submit your assignments is to edit the provided \LaTeX source files (which have the suffix .tex) and then convert them to PDF using pdflatex. This is because of the ease, aesthetic quality and modularity of mathematical formulae with \LaTeXTo help you out with learning \LaTeX, we have included the well-known document "The Not So Short Introduction to \LaTeX2ein our course materials (link to PDF). In addition, the review sheet that we publish so that you can assess your mathematical background (as it pertains to 250) has the \LaTeXsource included, so that you can play around with it if you wish. It has been observed anecdotally that people who learn \LaTeX tend to never, ever want to use another program to author documents ever again.
  2. Microsoft Word or Open/Libre Office (easy with simple text, tough with formulae): It is also possible to use your favorite office suite to write down your responses, but you would have to convert to PDF before submission, otherwise the system will not let you upload your response. Those programs tend to have very cumbersome and unwieldy, WYSISWYG equation editors, so we prefer\LaTeXto using those.
  3. Directly editing the PDF with a PDF program that allows it (very easy with simple text, virtually impossible with formulae): Some programs like Adobe Acrobat DC Professional (available for free to all students through Terpware) and Apple Preview in Macs allow for this, but we have not found an easy way for the inputting of mathematical formulae.
  4. Hand-Written scan (highly discouraged): If you must submit a hand-written response, we kindly ask that you use an actual scanner to turn your response into a legible PDF. This University libraries link has a lot of information about scanning, printing and copying around campus; consult it if you're not sure where to use a machine capable of producing quality scans of handwritten documents. If you submit a hand-written response, it will have to be legible. If we cannot read your response to a question, we will not be able to grade it with anything above a zero!


Late online quiz and homework assignment policies

As stated above, homeworks are due 5 minutes before every specific section begins its Tuesday lecture (exceptions might apply, e.g: Election Day.; see "Description of Assignments" above and course calendar for more information). Late homeworks will be accepted until the same time before the Thursday lecture, with a 50% penalty. After that point in time, the homework assignment will not even be available on ELMS! As mentioned above, online quizzes given out after Tuesday lectures will be due 5 minutes before the same section's Thursday lecture. If not submitted until that time, they will be able to be submitted late until Friday at 11:59pm, once again with a 50% penalty. Similarly, post-lecture quizzes given out after Thursday lectures are due 5 minutes before the same section's Tuesday lecture, and late submissions will be accepted until 5 minutes before the subsequent lecture (so, at the same time as any post-lecture quiz that might have been given out on Tuesday), for 50% credit once more. 

Below are some examples of the late homework assignment policies. The names have been chosen randomly and do not necessarily reflect the situation of any given current student.

  • Julie is a student in the 0103 section. It is Tuesday, 02-07 at 10:55am and Julie has not completed the online quiz due at exactly that minute. She will still be able to submit late until Thursday 02-09 10:55am, for 50% credit.
  • José is a student in the 0104 section. It is Thursday, 02-23 at 10:55am and Jose has not completed the online quiz due at exactly that minute. He will still be able to submit late until Friday, 10-23, at 11:59pm, for 50% credit.
  • Nakeesha is another student in the 0104 dection. It is Saturday, 02-25 and Nakeesha has not submitted the online quiz given to her the Thursday before. This is not a problem (yet), since that particular quiz is due 5 minutes before her Tuesday lecture (10:55am on Tuesday 02-28)
  • Malik is a student in the 0101 section. It is Tuesday, 03-21, 10:55am and Malik has not submitted his homework assignment due in his lecture. He still has 2 days, until Thursday 10-29 10:55am to submit for 50% credit.
  • Derek is a student in some section. It is Thursday, 02-16 11:25am and Derek has not submitted his second homework, which was due the Tuesday before, 5 minutes before his lecture. Unfortunately, Derek can no longer submit his second homework, because his late deadline has passed. He will receive a 0 (zero) for that particular homework. 


Make-Up assignment policy

  • Online quizzes. Students that did not attempt an online quiz because of an excused absence (see relevant section on excused absences) that precluded them from being in front of a computer within the alotted days given for the completion of the quiz can be given a full-credit re-attempt from the instructor.
  • Homeworks. One-on-one extensions can be given by the instructor in the event of a prolonged excused absence that clearly precluded a student from studying for and using a computer to upload the homework.
  • There are make-up midterms. As stated in the specification of the campus-wide "Course-Related policies above", a student whose absence from a midterm or final was excused, can sit for a make-up midterm within one week from the scheduled time of the actual midterm. 
  • Make-up finals are also possible, once again within one week of the scheduled date of the exam.


Leftover Assignments 

The course staff consists of graduate as well as undergraduate TAs. Undergraduate TAs do not have offices in A.V Williams (or any other campus building) where they can securely keep assignments that have not been collected by students. For that reason, any leftover quizzes and exams are being left with the relevant course instructors, in their AVW office. Students interested in picking them up can visit the instructors during their scheduled office hours.


Final papers

According to University regulations, the instructors have to keep final papers at least 6 months after they were sat for. After that particular date, the instructors reserve the right to either securely keep, redistribute, or shred the exams. After that time passes, no guarantees can be made as to the state of any final exam.



This semester we are using the University's CANVAS-based system, ELMS (link to UMD ELMS website) to run our course. Your homework assignments will be uploaded on ELMS as PDFs. All announcements will also be posted on this platform, as will be your grades. ELMS is highly tailored to facilitate grading and accessibility, and allows for the integration of clicker technology and appropriately tailored e-books and material. It also allows for auto-grading of your quizzes.


Office of Learning Assistance Service

Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the office of Learning Assistance Services, which is part of the Counseling Center of the University (link to their website) and also referred to as a resource in the Course-Related Policies outlined above. If you are experiencing difficulties in keeping up with the academic demands of this course, the first thing you should do is talk to us and your assigned mentors. If you feel as if you need more resources, you are encouraged to contact the Learning Assistance Service office at 2202 Shoemaker, with phone# 301-314-7693.  Their academic coaches can help with time management, reading, math learning skills, note-taking and exam preparation skillsAll their services are free to UM students! 

Course Summary:

Date Details