18.204 Undergraduate Seminar in Discrete Mathematics

Spring 2020, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Class time: Monday, Tuesday, 2:30pm-4pm, Room 2-151
Instructor: László Miklós Lovász
Email: lmlovasz AT (the university) DOT (education extension)
Communication specialist: Malcah Effron. Use https://calendly.com/meffron to schedule a meeting.
Gradebook/Stellar: http://stellar.mit.edu/S/course/18/sp20/18.204.02

Course Description

The goal of this class is to read and present papers around Discrete Mathematics, and learn how to effectively communicate mathematical ideas both in presentation and in writing. During the semester, each student will give two 35-40 minute chalkboard talks, write a term paper, and give a 20-25 minute slide presentation based on their term paper. During the semester, each student will give one 35-40 minute chalkboard talk, write a term paper, and give two ~25 minute presentations virtually. There will be 4 workshops in total, run by communication specialist Malcah Effron.

Syllabus Syllabus


20% for each chalkboard talk, 25% for term paper, 15% for the slide talk, and 20% for quizzes.
20% for the chalkboard talk, 25% for term paper, 15% for each slide talk, 10% for first quiz, 15% for summaries of talks.

Attendance policy: If you miss your talk, or miss more than three classes, without a valid excuse such as illness, you will automatically fail the class.

Reading material for first presentation workshop

Math based reasoning diagram from workshop.

Reasoning diagram filled out with Oddtown reasoning.

Preparing a seminar chalk talk handout.

Chalkboard on what works or doesn't in a talk.

Slides from paper writing workshop.

Slides from slide presentation workshop.
Unanimated, less optimal and animated, better slides.


(Schedule is tentative, subject to change)

Monday Wednesday
2/3 Introduction workshop 2/5 Choosing topics
2/10 Nate Foss
Dylan Doblar
2/12 Dhamanpreet Kaur
Deepankar Gupta
2/18 (T) Andy Dienes
Josephine Yu
2/19 Libaan Farah
Yixuan Pei
2/24 Thérèse Mills
Enrique Perez
2/26 Raimundo Rodriguez
3/2 Max Yu
Caleb Rollins
3/4 Writing workshop
3/9 Quiz
Casey Bussone
3/11 Hannah Chen
3/16 Cancelled 3/18 Cancelled
3/23 No class (Spring vacation) 3/25 No class (Spring vacation)
3/30 Slide presentation workshop 4/1 Raimundo Rodriguez
Dhamanpreet Kaur
4/6 Josephine Yu
Deepankar Gupta
Hannah Chen
4/8 Andy Dienes
Libaan Farah
Thérèse Mills
4/13 Max Yu
Casey Bussone
Yixuan Pei
4/15 Caleb Rollins
Enrique Perez
Dylan Doblar
4/20 No class (Patriotsí Day) 4/22 Dhamanpreet Kaur
Hannah Chen
Thérèse Mills
4/27 Josephine Yu
Yixuan Pei
4/29 Libaan Farah
Dylan Doblar
Deepankar Gupta
5/4 Peer review workshop 5/6 Max Yu
Raimundo Rodriguez
Caleb Rollins
5/11 Andy Dienes
Enrique Perez
Casey Bussone
5/13 No class (end of semester)