Undergraduate Seminar in Discrete Mathematics >> Content Detail



Final Paper Project Assignment Guidelines

What is it?
A paper of roughly ten pages, on a subject relevant to the course.

What kind of subject?
Preferably something you want to learn about, not something you know everything about now. You should spend some time figuring out what it is all about. And then write.

What sort of paper?
Imagine you were to lecture to reasonably intelligent people about the subject. The paper can read like detailed notes on what you would say. Or it could be your paraphrase of some interesting or important theorem or method.

Will this take ten pages?
If you give definitions and examples and details, anything can take ten pages.

What do I do?
Here are the basic steps, and guidelines as to when to do them:

1Choose a topic. This is the hardest step. Please choose one different from that chosen by anyone else in the class. To do this probably means letting someone (unfortunately probably me) know what you have chosen. Pick something you expect to interest you, but as noted already, you do not know everything about.Ses #13
2Learn everything you can about the topic. Read papers and books, consult the internet, etc. While doing so, formulate a notion of what you want to write.
3Construct an outline of your paper and a first draft.Ses #21
4Complete and submit your completed paper.Ses #26
5[Paper will be reviewed and criticized unmercifully.]
6Revise paper following criticisms and submit final revised paper.Ses #39

As an alternative...
Instead of a long, 10-page paper as described above, you can write up the details of each of your class presentations for a total of 10 pages over the semester. Hand these in as you complete them for mid-semester feedback and revisions.

Student Projects

These projects are courtesy of the students named, and used with permission.

Tricolorability of knots (PDF - 1.0 MB)Kayla Jacobs
Integration: The Feynman way (PDF)Anonymous
Random walks and eventual returns (PDF)The Anonymous Heroes of Mathematics

Fundamental methods of numerical extrapolation with applications (PDF)

Eric Liu
The RSA cryptosystem (PDF)Sylvia Robles
Surreal numbers (PDF)Paul Chou
Compression algorithms (PDF)Xing Yuan
Mathematical fallacy proofs (PDF)Xing Yuan


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