Teaching: COMP11120

COMP11120: Mathematical Techniques for Computer Science

(Semesters 1 and 2, 2017/2018)

Shortcuts: Course notesCourseworkSolutionsExamsOfficial SyllabusBlackboard


Mathematics is an important discipline in its own right, but there are a number of connections between it and computer science. For example, theoretical computer science is a discipline that is part of both, mathematics and computer science. But also, the language of mathematics, and its methods, are variously used in computer science, in particular to obtain precise descriptions of various circumstances.

The aim of this course unit is to teach you the mathematics required for the curriculum here in Manchester, but also to give you sufficient understanding that you will be able to apply it in your future careers, and to enable you to read relevant literature by yourself. For an overview of the syllabus and the practicalities of the unit, including the teaching staff, see the official syllabus page.

Course notes

Notes for Semester 1, updated on 13/12 with all known mistakes corrected. Please note that this are not identical to the printed copies since they already contain some improvements. The exercises are the same. These notes have clickable hyperlinks which allow you to manoeuvre through the document efficiently. Glossary hyperlinks now work as well, but they do take you to one page before the one you want. Still working on fixing those..

The notes, including the exercises, cover all the examinable material for this part of the course. I appreciate any feedback on the course in general as well as on the material handed out. For this purpose please email me at A.Schalk at cs.manchester.ac.uk.

The notes are written in a fair amount of detail because you are expected to spend some time each week in self-study. I do not explain every detail that appears in the notes in the lectures. The lectures are there for me to introduce the big ideas, and to go through examples with you. Note that the lectures are podcast and you can find a link to those on Blackboard.

The notes also contain organizational information at the beginning. Please read this to find out about the details regarding assessment, and how you are expected to work.

Here are the notes for Semester 2 updated on 03/04 with all known mistakes corrected.

Copies of the notes are handed out at the start of each semester. Left-over copies are deposited with the Student Support Centre. If you lose your notes and no copies are left you can print them again.

For students who would like all the notes in one document, with a glossary that covers the entire document, these are available here. These notes are the basis for a text book that I am writing. If you are a student taking COMP11120 this year then note that you will receive a different set of notes on Logic (Chapter 3), from my collague Renate Schmidt. Please note that the notes for Semester 2 will be reviewed, and the current version will not be the one that to be handed out at the start of Semester 2.

Despite my best efforts, the notes may still contain some errors. I keep an up-to-date list of them available here.

Corrigenda for Semester 2. Last updated 22nd February 2018.

Corrigenda. Last updated 29 November 2017.

Previous versions of this unit

This course began a restructing phase in the academic year 2014/2015. Since then the staff, and quite a bit of the material, has been substantially changed. We here give an overview of those changes.

Examples classes

For each week you have an examples class for the course unit. For each class you are given a number of exercises which you are expected to (try to) solve. You have to do this before the start of the examples classes to get the marks.

The point of the examples classes is to

The marks for this make up 20% of the final mark for the unit.

Solutions to the exercises in the notes are made available on Blackboard.


The coursework for this unit consists of preparing the named exercises on each sheet, for 20% of the overall mark, and one test in Semester 1, for 5%.

In order for your exercise marks to count at all you must have done work for, and attended, at least 7 out of the 10 examples classes each semeseter. To allow for non-attendance only your best eight out of ten marks will be used to calculate your coursework mark each semester.

The exams

There are two exams, one after each semester. There is also a test halfway through Semester 1.

Here is the 2017/18 mid-term test and its solutions, the 2016/17 mid-term test and its solutions, and the 2015/16 mid-term test and its solutions.

Here is the Semester 1 paper from 2017/18 and our feedback, as well as the Semester 2 paper our feedback.

Here is the Semester 1 paper from 2016/17, and here is our feedback for that paper, as well as the Semester 2 paper from 2016/17, and our feedback.

Here is the Semester 1 paper from 2015/16, and here is our feedback for that paper, as well as the Semester 2 paper from 2015/16, and our feedback.

Exam Format:

The department keeps a wealth of information on exams, when they are, how to prepare for them, where to find old exam papers (where they exist), etc, here.

Exam papers going back further. Note that major changes have been made to the material in the academic year 2014/15, and more changes are to follow for 2015/16. Therefore earlier exam papers will not give an accurate reflection of the papers you will be sitting. You should let yourself be guided by the exercises in the notes when it comes to judging what you might be asked to do in the exams.

Past exam papers as well as feedback on these are available at here.

22 June 2018