Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Good Text for Discrete Math?

I'll be teaching Discrete Math next semester, for the first time ever. (Kind of surprising I waited this long, since many of the topics are dear to my heart and the whole course looks like playing with math to me.)

We've been using Discrete Mathematics and its Applications, by Kenneth Rosen. Cheapest used I see on Amazon is $92. My colleague likes a book by Washburn, Marlowe and Ryan, but it was published in 2000, and I don't see any newer editions online. It looks like it's probably out of print.

I have a few days to pick a textbook. Does anyone know a good one? Are there any open source texts? (I see one they use at UCSD.)

Edited to include the goodies:
  • Exeter has a Discrete Math problem set. I'll probably use many of their problems as supplementary material.
  • Discrete Math with Ducks, by sarah-marie belcastro, is about $60, and looks pretty good. I've chosen this for my course.
  • John Golden pointed out another interesting book, Applied Combinatorics, by Keller and Trotter. Mitch Keller just changed it to a Creative Commons copyright. Thanks, Mitch!


  1. This is the first time I have ever seen someone mention an open source textbook, and I hadn't ever really thought about it until now. I found a pretty nice list with a simple Google search, but I just want to say thank you for giving me this idea. :)

  2. I'm not sure if it covers the right topics for your class, but _Discrete Mathematics With Ducks_ is a lot of fun and only moderately expensive.

    If you find a good open-source solution, be sure to let us know!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Never looked into it with any depth, but Exeter has a Discrete Math course through problems.

  5. Josh, That looks fun! I'll see what my colleague says.

    Michael, Thanks! I'll look that over carefully. If the problems cover everything we're supposed to 'cover', I'd love to provide a free text for this course.

    Yeay! I'm getting excited about this.

  6. Josh, I decided to go with DM with Ducks. There are 4 topics that we normally cover that aren't in it (number theory, cardinality, partial ordering, and ___ can't remember). I'm fine with number theory and cardinality, and can do something on those without a textbook. We may skimp a bit on the other two.

    Exeter's Discrete Math problem set looks lovely. It has lots of problems relating to apportionment (how many representatives does each state get, as populations change?), and the voting paradox material. None of that is in our course, though.

    So Exeter wouldn't work as the backbone, but I'm sure I'll find lots of good problems in it.

    I know what I'll be doing over the winter holidays... :^)


Math Blog Directory