Professor: Jeff Johannes
MWF 12-12:50p Sturges 103
Office Hours: Monday 9 - 9:50a, 2:30
- 3:30p, Wednesday 3:30 - 4:30p, Thursday 8 - 9p, Friday 11 - 11:50a, sometimes3 - 4p, and by
appointment or visit
Email Address: Johannes@Geneseo.edu
Knots and Surfaces: A Guide to Discovering Mathematics, David W. Farmer and Theodore B. Stanford (Chapter 1 only, distributed in class)
Combinatorics: A Problem Oriented Approach, Daniel A. Marcus
The purpose of this class is to solve a variety of
diverse discrete and counting problems.
Mathematics is about doing - not about
watching. In this class you will spend most of your time solving
problems. I will help in any way you want, but the mainstay of
the work will be done by you. You will present. You will
work problems. Combinatorics is much more about solving problems
than learning theory. I expect this will appeal to all of
you - as it's matched well with your earliest experiences in
mathematics and probably what draws you the subject in general.
I have carefully two sources for this class.
Both books are designed as guides and problem sources, more than
explanation sources. By answering a series of leading questions
you can teach yourself. There is also some background text in the
book. It is your responsibility to read that on your own.
Our class time will be spent presenting and working on problems.
The entire class is graded out of 126 points
The final grading scale is as follows:
For each part each student must present at least two problems. Presentations will be scored out of at most 4 points, with no more than 7 points for each pair.
The class presentations will be graded roughly as follows:
3.5 very good - at most minor errors
3 some problems, but the main idea of the solution is
2 some correct things
0 no presentation
Priority for presenting problems will be determined
based upon prior performance in the class - lower performance leads to
higher priority. Each student who has not yet presented will have
priority over students who have presented. A third (or more)
problem may be presented in order to replace a prior presentation.
Each part will have a problem set. Students
are responsible from choosing their own problems from the associated
reading materials. Class presentation problems are not acceptable choices for problem sets. Each problem set is graded
based entirely on the number of problems clearly completed. There
is no partial credit on any particular problem. It either counts
or it does not. In order to count it must be clearly written in
both mathematics and English. Each student will receive credit
for no more than 11 problems per part. Writing a problem that no
one else submits counts for two problems. Remember not to count
on this, though, because others may submit the same problem at some
point. Please regularly check with me regarding what problems you
are choosing. I reserve the right to deem a selection of problems
inadequate and to score them with that limitation. Please be sure
to include a variety of challenges and topics in your problems.
Selecting two problems that are mathematically identical will most
likely result in credit for only one of the two problems.
Occasionally you will be given anonymous feedback
Please use them to share any thoughts or concerns for how the course is
Remember, the sooner you tell me your concerns, the more I can do about
I have also created a web-site
which accepts anonymous comments. If we have not yet
this in class, please encourage me to create a class code. This
may also be accessed via our course page on
link entitled anonymous
feedback. Of course, you are always welcome to approach me
of class to discuss these issues as well.
While working on homework with one another is
encouraged, all write-ups of solutions must be your own. You are
expected to be able to explain any solution you give me if asked.
Student Academic Dishonesty Policy and Procedures will be followed
should incidents of academic dishonesty occur.
SUNY Geneseo will make reasonable accommodations for
persons with documented physical, emotional or learning
disabilities. Students should consult with the Director in the
Office of Disability Services (Tabitha Buggie-Hunt, 105D Erwin,
firstname.lastname@example.org) and their individual faculty regarding any needed
accommodations as early as possible in the semester.
It is my policy to give students who miss class
of observance of religious holidays the opportunity to make up missed
You are responsible for notifying me by September 11 of plans to
September 2 - September 16 Part 1: Graph Theory
September 18 - September 30 Part 2: Strings and Combinations
October 2 - October 16 Part 3: Distributions
October 19 - October 30 Part 4: Partitions
November 2 - November 13 Part 5: Inclusion and Exclusion
November 16 - December 2 Part 6: Recurrence Relations
December 4 - December 21 Part 7: Generating Functions
Monday, December 21 12N-3p
final discussion and presentations