CMSC210 (Fall 2003) Mini Project

Due Dates

Background and Objective

Every computer scientist knows that discrete math is an essential and extremely useful topic.  However, due to its mathematical nature, the learning process is often very dry.  Many discrete math instructors recognize this problem.  In addition, many textbook authors claim that their texts address this problem.  Unfortunately, very few texts actually demonstrate the usefulness of discrete math in a way beginning students can be convinced.  In this course, we try to break this barrier.

We have already discussed a few examples that demonstrate the usefulness of discrete math for representing real-world problems.  In this mini project, you will find your own real-world problem that can be represented using discrete math.  By doing this project, you are expected to understand the usefulness of discrete math and demonstrate your competency in this topic.

Here are examples of mini projects from Fall 2002 (Example 1, Example 2) and Spring 2003 (Example 3, Example 4).  Note that the requirements for these semesters were different from the ones for this semester.  Thus, these examples will not get full credit under this semester's requirements.


This is not a project for which you spend a number of hours in the library.  Instead, you keep thinking about the topic for an extended period, while doing laundry, doing an exercise, listening to music, etc., and try to think whether your activity (physical/intellectual/spiritual) can be represented by using discrete math.  As soon as you have some idea, try to put it in writing.


Theme of this semester: Logical specification of a real-world object/phenomenon.

Phase 1
Phase 2
Final report


The project grade consists of the following phases: The total project grade is the sum of the above components.  Since this is a customized project, the grading criteria must be customized as well.  Even if your self-evaluation gives full credit, it is possible that the instructor reviews it differently, based on the course standard.  In order to make sure that you can evaluate your work in accordance to the course standard, you should discuss your project with the instructor multiple times in a timely manner.  You may rewrite your project as many times as you wish until you receive the highest project grade, as long as there is sufficient time for the instructor to grade and give feedback (allow sufficient time to get feedback).