CS 242, Section 002 Sonoma State University Fall, 2021
Discrete Structures for Computer Science
Instructor: Henry M. Walker

Lecturer, Sonoma State University
Professor Emeritus of Computer Science and Mathematics, Grinnell College


 Class Schedule and Format  Covid-19 Policies  Assignments  In-class Materials  Deadlines
 Instructor  Resources  Anticipated Work Load  Course Work
 Collaboration and Academic Honesty  Cell Phones  Accommodations  Grading

CS 242, Discrete Structures in Computer Science, can be described formally, strategically, informally, and practically.

Formal Description From the Sonoma State University Catalog:

This course covers fundamental mathematical concepts blended with their applications in Computer Science. Topics include: sets, functions and relations, Boolean algebra, normal forms., Karnaugh map and other minimization techniques, predicate logic, formal and informal proof techniques, relational algebra, basic counting techniques, recurrence relations, and an introduction to graph theory.

Strategic Course Description:

Many topics within computing utilize foundational concepts that draw heavily from the mathematical sciences. Although this material could be scattered throughout the curriculum, such an approach invites duplication, as later courses could not assume this basic material and thus would have to repeat it. Strategically, this course explores many of these pieces, so that later courses can move forward efficiently and without extensive duplication. In particular, the prerequisite structure of Computer Science Courses at Sonoma State University shows that CSC 242 serves as a direct prerequisite for 3 core CS courses and for 11 subsequent CS courses. Altogether, material covered in CSC 242 provides a foundation for approximately 14 later courses.

Informal Course Description:

Mathematical concepts, models, structures, skills, and techniques pervade many topics within computer science. Although far from complete, this table with a partial topic list highlights several important mathematical topics and identifies a few of the many application areas within computer science where these topics arise. Due to time and logistical constraints, CS 242 can introduce only the first nine of the topics listed. For those interested in pursuing selected sub-areas within computing, additional mathematics courses may be needed, as identified in the last several rows of the table.

Practical Course Description

CS 242 is a prerequisite for many Computer Science Courses at Sonoma State University, because many topics within later courses depend upon material related to "discrete structures." Simply stated, discrete structures provide a foundation that subdisciplines throughout computer science are built upon, so students are required to master material in CS 242 before enrolling in upper-level computer science courses.

SSU Covid-19 Policies

Basic SSU Policy for in-person Classes

"It is the responsibility of all SSU community members to adhere to Covid safety protocols. My expectation is that you carefully read all sections of the Sonoma State Covid-19 information page. Before leaving your residence or coming to campus, you are required to complete the daily wellness screening. I expect you to have completed this screening and receive a green indicator such that you are cleared to come to campus prior to coming to class. If you are unable to come to class because you have not been cleared or if you are experiencing COVID-related symptoms, I can work with you so that you can make up the missed class sessions and/or assignments. When we are in class, we are required to wear masks at all times. If you forget to bring a mask you may obtain one at Seawolf Services, the University Library, or the Student Center. Thank you so much for helping to keep the members of our class safe."

SSU Policy on Food and Drink in the Classroom

"Eating in classrooms is not permitted during the fall 2021 semester. The University allows temporarily lifting or removing masks to drink."

Use of Masks and Social Distancing During Class


Henry M. Walker

Office: Darwin 116C
E-mail: henry.walker@sonoma.edu and walker@cs.grinnell.edu

Office hours are available most weekdays, unless announced otherwise in class.

Monday, Friday: 11:30 am – 12:45 pm via Zoom (URL available on CS 242.002 Home Page on Canvas)
Tuesday: 11:30 am – 12:45 pm in person (location Sal 1035)
Wednesday: 11:15 am – 11:55 pm via Zoom (URL available on CS 242.002 Home Page on Canvas)
Thursday: 11:30 am – 12:15 pm in person (location Sal 1035)

During office hours, I will try accommodate all students who want to talk with me, largely following a first-come, first-served strategy.


Textbook: Kenneth H. Rosen, Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications, Eighth Edition, McGraw Hill Education, 2019, ISBN10: 1-259-67651X, ISBN13 978-1-259-67651-2

Additional Resource: Jerrold W. Grossman and Daniel R. Jordan, Student's Solution Guide for "Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications, Eighth Edition" by Kenneth H. Rosen, McGraw Hill Education, 2019, ISBN10: 1-259-73169-3 ISBN13: 978-1-259-73169-3.

Schedule and Class Format

While the schedule for this course is expected to evolve, a detailed Tentative Class Schedule is posted with readings, labs, assignments, examples, etc. This schedule will be updated as the course evolves.

For variety, this course will utilize a reasonably wide range of in-class activities. In general, each class session will involve

Over the semester, some additional class time may involve

The organization of individual classes likely will evolve through the semester. This table illustrates a sample class format.

Anticipated Work Load

This course incorporates a variety of activities, including class preparation (reading), labs and projects (started in class and finished for homework), and supplemental problems (some required and some available for extra credit), as well as quizzes, tests, and a final exam. From past experience, the time required for these activities will likely vary substantially from student to student and from one part of the course to another. For example, a student may need to devote considerable time and effort when starting a new or different topic, but the workload may drop noticeably when that material is mastered.

Such variation in student experiences complicates any estimation of the time individual students may need to devote to homework for this course. However, from past experience, students working steadily on the course likely should expect to allocate 10-15 hours per week to homework. Some students may require additional time for some weeks; some students may complete work in less time for some weeks. Conversations with computer science faculty and others suggest this time allocation is consistent with expectations for many courses at Grinnell College and Sonoma State University.

Course Work

Course Work will involve a combination of the following activities.


Deadlines are shown on the Tentative Class Schedule, and work is due at the start of each class specified. A penalty of 30% per class meeting will be assessed for any assignment turned in late, even work submitted at the end of a class.

Although dates for assignments, quizzes, tests, and the final exam are firm, I understand that circumstances arise when you are not able to attend class.

Absolute Deadline: All homework must be turned in by Thursday, December 2, at 4:00 pm;
assignments received after that time will not be counted in the grading of the course.

Collaboration and Academic Honesty

Written [weekly] assignments: Collaboration is required on written assignments, and I will assign new partners (in groups of 2 or 3) each week.

Quizzes, tests, and the final exam: All in-class quizzes, tests, and the final exam are closed book and closed notes, and collaboration is not allowed. Students may ask questions of the instructor, but communication with any other person is not allowed.

Other Graded Work: Should other work be assigned during this class, rules regarding collaboration and citation will be included as part of the activity.

Procedures: Throughout the course, For example, any hint of academic dishonesty will be investigated and handled following the SSU Policies on Cheating and plagiarism.

Cell Phones, Text Messaging, and E-Community Devices

Cell phones, text-messaging devices, and other social-networking connections may not be used in this class. If you bring such equipment to the classroom, it must be turned off before the class starts and stay off throughout the class period. Use of such equipment is distracting to those nearby and will not be tolerated.



If you are a student with a disability and think you may need academic accommodations, please contact Disability Services for Students (DSS) located in Schulz 1014A. Please contact DSS as early as possible in order to avoid a delay in receiving accommodation services. The use of DSS services, including testing accommodations, requires prior authorization by DSS in compliance with university policies and procedures. See SSU's policy on Disability Access for Students

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

If you feel stressed or otherwise worried about your circumstances, you are encouraged to contact SSU's Counseling and Psychological Services. In summary, CAPS offers short-term individual and group counseling, workshops, crisis intervention services, consultation, referral, training, and outreach.


This instructor's grading philosophy dictates that the final grade should ultimately be based upon each student's demonstration of her or his understanding of the material, not on the performance of the class as a whole nor on a strict percentile basis. The following scheme is proposed as a base for how the various assignments and tests will be counted in the final grade.

Assignments: 36%       Quizzes: 20% (5% each quiz–lowest quiz dropped)     Tests: 24% (12% each test)       Exam: 20%

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revised Summer 2021
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For more information, please contact Henry M. Walker at walker@cs.grinnell.edu.