# Introduction to Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science Specialization

Build a Foundation for Your Career in IT. Master the math powering our lives and prepare for your software engineer or security analyst career

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## Skills you will gain

## About this Specialization

## Applied Learning Project

We’ll implement together an efficient program for a problem needed by delivery companies all over the world millions times per day — the travelling salesman problem. The goal in this problem is to visit all the given places as quickly as possible. How to find an optimal solution to this problem quickly? We still don’t have provably efficient algorithms for this difficult computational problem and this is the essence of the P versus NP problem, the most important open question in Computer Science. Still, we’ll implement several efficient solutions for real world instances of the travelling salesman problem. While designing these solutions, we will rely heavily on the material learned in the courses of the specialization: proof techniques, combinatorics, probability, graph theory. We’ll see several examples of using discrete mathematics ideas to get more and more efficient solutions.

No prior experience required.

No prior experience required.

### There are 5 Courses in this Specialization

### Mathematical Thinking in Computer Science

Mathematical thinking is crucial in all areas of computer science: algorithms, bioinformatics, computer graphics, data science, machine learning, etc. In this course, we will learn the most important tools used in discrete mathematics: induction, recursion, logic, invariants, examples, optimality. We will use these tools to answer typical programming questions like: How can we be certain a solution exists? Am I sure my program computes the optimal answer? Do each of these objects meet the given requirements?

### Combinatorics and Probability

Counting is one of the basic mathematically related tasks we encounter on a day to day basis. The main question here is the following. If we need to count something, can we do anything better than just counting all objects one by one? Do we need to create a list of all phone numbers to ensure that there are enough phone numbers for everyone? Is there a way to tell that our algorithm will run in a reasonable time before implementing and actually running it? All these questions are addressed by a mathematical field called Combinatorics.

### Introduction to Graph Theory

We invite you to a fascinating journey into Graph Theory — an area which connects the elegance of painting and the rigor of mathematics; is simple, but not unsophisticated. Graph Theory gives us, both an easy way to pictorially represent many major mathematical results, and insights into the deep theories behind them.

### Number Theory and Cryptography

We all learn numbers from the childhood. Some of us like to count, others hate it, but any person uses numbers everyday to buy things, pay for services, estimated time and necessary resources. People have been wondering about numbers’ properties for thousands of years. And for thousands of years it was more or less just a game that was only interesting for pure mathematicians. Famous 20th century mathematician G.H. Hardy once said “The Theory of Numbers has always been regarded as one of the most obviously useless branches of Pure Mathematics”. Just 30 years after his death, an algorithm for encryption of secret messages was developed using achievements of number theory. It was called RSA after the names of its authors, and its implementation is probably the most frequently used computer program in the word nowadays. Without it, nobody would be able to make secure payments over the internet, or even log in securely to e-mail and other personal services. In this short course, we will make the whole journey from the foundation to RSA in 4 weeks. By the end, you will be able to apply the basics of the number theory to encrypt and decrypt messages, and to break the code if one applies RSA carelessly. You will even pass a cryptographic quest!

### Offered by

#### University of California San Diego

UC San Diego is an academic powerhouse and economic engine, recognized as one of the top 10 public universities by U.S. News and World Report. Innovation is central to who we are and what we do. Here, students learn that knowledge isn't just acquired in the classroom—life is their laboratory.

#### National Research University Higher School of Economics

National Research University - Higher School of Economics (HSE) is one of the top research universities in Russia. Established in 1992 to promote new research and teaching in economics and related disciplines, it now offers programs at all levels of university education across an extraordinary range of fields of study including business, sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, political science, international relations, law, Asian studies, media and communicamathematics, engineering, and more.

## Frequently Asked Questions

What is the refund policy?

If you subscribed, you get a 7-day free trial during which you can cancel at no penalty. After that, we don’t give refunds, but you can cancel your subscription at any time. See our full refund policy.

Can I just enroll in a single course?

Yes! To get started, click the course card that interests you and enroll. You can enroll and complete the course to earn a shareable certificate, or you can audit it to view the course materials for free. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full Specialization. Visit your learner dashboard to track your progress.

Is financial aid available?

Yes, Coursera provides financial aid to learners who cannot afford the fee. Apply for it by clicking on the Financial Aid link beneath the "Enroll" button on the left. You'll be prompted to complete an application and will be notified if you are approved. You'll need to complete this step for each course in the Specialization, including the Capstone Project. Learn more.

Can I take the course for free?

When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free. If you cannot afford the fee, you can apply for financial aid.

Is this course really 100% online? Do I need to attend any classes in person?

This course is completely online, so there’s no need to show up to a classroom in person. You can access your lectures, readings and assignments anytime and anywhere via the web or your mobile device.

How long does it take to complete the Specialization?

Time to completion can vary based on your schedule, but most learners are able to complete the Specialization in 6-8 months.

What background knowledge is necessary?

As prerequisites we assume only basic math (e.g., we expect you to know what is a square or how to add fractions), basic programming in python (functions, loops, recursion), common sense and curiosity. Our intended audience are all people that work or plan to work in IT, starting from motivated high school students.

Do I need to take the courses in a specific order?

We recommend taking the courses in the order presented, as each subsequent course will build on material from previous courses.

Will I earn university credit for completing the Specialization?

Coursera courses and certificates don't carry university credit, though some universities may choose to accept Specialization Certificates for credit. Check with your institution to learn more.

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