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Unit information: Topics in Discrete Mathematics 34 in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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Unit name Topics in Discrete Mathematics 34
Unit code MATHM0009
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2C (weeks 13 - 18)
Unit director Dr. Walling
Open unit status Not open

At least two of the following units: MATH20006 Metric Spaces, MATH21800 Algebra 2, MATH21400 Linear Algebra 2

For joint Mathematics and Computer Science students, it would be desirable to have taken COMS21103 Data Structures and Algorithms



School/department School of Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Science


Unit Aims

This is a topics course aimed at deepening and broadening the students' knowledge of various aspects of discrete mathematics, as well as illustrating connections between discrete mathematics and other areas such as algebra, probability, number theory, analysis and computer science.

Unit Description

Discrete mathematics refers to the study of mathematical structures that are discrete in nature rather than continuous, for example graphs, lattices, partially ordered sets, designs and codes. It is a classical subject that has become very important in real-world applications, and consequently it is a very active research topic.

This topics course exposes the students to a selection of advanced cutting-edge topics in discrete mathematics.

While results and problems of recent origin may be included in the syllabus, the instructors aim to make the material accessible to all students fulfilling the prerequisites by providing complete lectures notes and including all necessary background material.

The unit is suitable for students with a firm grasp of the basic concepts in Combinatorics, and likely of interest to those with an interest in number theory, algebra, probability and/or theoretical computer science.

Relation to Other Units

The course follows on from Combinatorics. It complements Complex Networks and the Data Structures and Algorithms unit in Computer Science. Students may not take this unit if they have taken the corresponding Level H/6 unit MATH30002 Topics in Discrete Mathematics 3.

Intended learning outcomes

Learning Objectives

In accordance with the specific syllabus taught in any particular year, students who successfully complete the unit should:

  • have developed a solid understanding of the advanced concepts covered in the course;
  • be able to use techniques from algebra, analysis and probability to solve problems in discrete mathematics;
  • have a good grasp of the applications of combinatorial techniques in other areas of mathematics and to real-world problems.

By pursuing an individual project on a more advanced topic students should have:

  • developed an awareness of a broader literature;
  • gained an appreciation of how the basic ideas may be further developed;
  • learned how to assimilate material from several sources into a coherent document.

Transferable Skills

The ability to think clearly about discrete structures and the ability to analyse complex real-world problems using combinatorial abstractions.

Teaching details

Lectures, including examples and revision classes, supported by lecture notes with problem sets and model solutions. Self-study with directed reading based on recommended material.

Assessment Details

100% Examination.

Raw scores on the examinations will be determined according to the marking scheme written on the examination paper. The marking scheme, indicating the maximum score per question, is a guide to the relative weighting of the questions. Raw scores are moderated as described in the Undergraduate Handbook.

Reading and References


  • Ian Anderson, A First Course in Discrete Mathematics, Springer, 2001
  • Peter J. Cameron, Combinatorics: Topics, Techniques, Algorithms, Cambridge University Press, 1995
  • Dieter Jungnickel, Graphs, Networks, and Algorithms, Springer, 2005