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### What is Discrete Math?

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Date: 10/8/95 at 17:1:12
From: Anonymous
Subject: Discrete Math

Question:
I'm doing a project for school, and I need to know what discrete math
is, an example of it, and what careers it is used in.  I've searched
everywhere, but this is the only place I've been able to find the term.
```

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Date: 10/8/95 at 17:41:0
From: Doctor Sarah
Subject: Re: Discrete Math

Hi there -

Here's some information from the DIMACS (Center for Discrete Mathematics
and Theoretical Computer Science) Web site.

http://dimacs.rutgers.edu   .

WHAT IS DISCRETE MATHEMATICS?

Discrete mathematics is a rapidly growing and increasingly used
area of mathematics with many practical and relevant applications.
Because it is grounded in real world problems, discrete math lends
itself easily to implementing the recommendations of the NCTM
Standards.

Discrete math will make mathematical concepts come alive for your
students. It's an excellent tool for improving reasoning and
problem-solving skills, and is appropriate for students at all
levels and all abilities. Teachers have found that discrete
mathematics offers a way of motivating unmotivated students and
challenging honors students at the same time.

Problems in discrete mathematics are often simply stated and
accessible to students with little mathematical background,
including those who have not mastered algebra. On the other hand,
many problems are complex, leading students to new insights and
knowledge. Questions that seem simple give rise to related
questions that are quite challenging. As a result, the topics are
accessible and interesting both to students that are accustomed to
success and already may be contemplating scientific careers, as
well as to students who are accustomed to failure and perhaps need
a fresh start in mathematics.

Because discrete mathematics deals with complex problem solving,
it has widespread uses in a variety of fields. Many current
applications to areas such as networking, telecommunications,
computer design, cryptanalysis, robotics, social choice theory,
and operations research involve discrete mathematics. Students
specializing in discrete mathematics will find a wide range of
career opportunities open to them.

SOME SAMPLE PROBLEMS IN DISCRETE
MATHEMATICS

What is the quickest way to sort a list of names alphabetically?
Which way of connecting a number of sites into a telephone network
requires the least amount of cable?

Which version of a lottery gives the best odds?

If each voter ranks the candidates for Presidents in order of
preference, how can a consensus ranking of the candidates be
obtained?

What is the best way for a robot to pick up items stored in an
automated warehouse?

How does a CD player interpret the codes on a CD correctly even if
the CD is scratched?

How can an estate be divided fairly?

How can ice cream stands be placed at various street corners in a
town so that at any corner there is a stand which is at most one
block away?

What is the most efficient way to make collections from MAC
machines?

How can representatives be apportioned fairly among the states
using current census information?

If you use this information in a paper you can refer to the Center and footnote the

http://dimacs.rutgers.edu/lp/workshops/

-Doctor Sarah,  The Geometry Forum

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Associated Topics:
High School Discrete Mathematics

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