MTAT.05.121 Combinatorics for CS
Part II: Extremal Combinatorics
The courses Combinatorics for Computer Science I--IV cover the combinatorial backbone of Theoretical Computer Science. The target audience is PhD and Master students who consider doing serious research in TCS. If you are a born combinatorialist: lucky you, you'll love the topics. As for those of us who aren't, we'll have to work through this because it improves our research capabilities in TCS.
This course, Part II, covers Extremal Combinatorics. It is based on the textbook
by S. Jukna.
We will cover the first three parts of the book, omitting some chapters, and cutting short some others. (The fourth part of the book is covered by MTAT.05.121, Part III.)
The course is very intensive on individual study. The textbook material will be assigned as homework reading. In class, we'll discuss parts which you didn't understand at home. There will be as possible "Frontal Teaching" as possible in this course.
You will also have to solve the textbook exercises at home. That's because you're supposed to train skills, not memorize facts. In class, we'll discuss the solutions.
The original plan is that each students solves every exercise at home.
The Plan B, if that turns out to be too much work, I may decide to assign exercises to individual students. In class, these students will present the problem, give the other students a few minutes to come up with their own ideas, then the student who was assigned the problem presents his (partial) solution (ideas).
To summarize, this course is bad ass no shit high intensity training of the no pain no gain variety. (The words "extremal combinatorics" take on a whole new meaning. ;))
In order to be admitted to the final exam, you have to present at least 4 solutions to exercises. Yes, that's a fairly easy condition.
There will be one final oral pass/fail exam at the end of the course. In that exam I'll ask you to solve a problem you've never seen before. (That's why you'll have to practice.)
Dirk Oliver Theis