Table of Contents

A Guide to CSE 311

Welcome to CSE 311! We hope you’re excited to learn about so many exciting new topics this quarter. CSE 311 is often the first upper level CS class many people take. The workload, content, and problem-solving in this course might be different than previous courses you’ve taken before. We’ve put together a compilation of resources to help you succeed in this course.

The first set of resources are things you’ll refer to often throughout the course. These include things like how to utilize LaTeX in 311, proof techniques for this course, and skills that will be useful throughout the quarter.

The second set of resources will consist of handouts, reference sheets, and guides for particular concepts throughout the course. As we go through all the concepts in this course, the resources will be updated regularly!

If there are any resources you’d like to see on here or any questions you have, feel free to reach out to course staff!

General Course Resources

Good Skills to Develop Through CSE 311

Problem Solving:



Please talk to each other and work with each other. Forming study groups and meeting with them regularly might be a good choice. Always ensure that collaboration is within our guidelines:

How to get “unstuck”:

A general rule of thumb for when you feel really stuck on a problem. Work on a problem for ~30 min. If you can’t figure it out, take a break and come back to it. Work on it for ~30 min. If you still can’t figure it out, work on it for ~30 min with a study partner. If you still can’t get it, come to Office Hours and TAs will be happy to help you out.

Tips and Techniques to Navigating Proofs

Guides to LaTeX for CSE 311

You are not required to typeset your homework solutions; however, it is an easy way to improve the legibility of your documents. Many Allen School students learned to typeset in this course. LaTeX has often been used in other courses such as CSE 312, CSE 446, and more!

LaTeX is the standard tool for typesetting mathematical materials. While it takes some time to learn, it will likely pay for itself in the long run. You can even use LaTeX in places like Ed and Facebook Messenger!

These resources may be helpful for you to get started with LaTeX:

LaTeX Tutorial
LaTeX Workshop SlidesA comprehensive “workshop” on what LaTeX is, how to structure a LaTeX document, and common typesetting options.
311 LaTeX master templateTemplate LaTeX file that is a great structure to follow for CSE 311 assignments.

Concept-Specific Resources

I. Propositional Logic

(include topics like Propositional Logic, Translation from English to formal Logic, Logical Circuits, Boolean Algebra, etc.)

Translation Tips Reference SheetTips on how to translate English into formal logic.Propositional Logic, Translation between English and Formal Logic
Logical equivalences reference sheet (slides version)Definitions of logical equivalences (Commutativity, Associativity, De Morgan’s Laws, etc.)Equivalences
Boolean algebra reference sheetReference sheet containing axioms and theorems useful for boolean algebra.Boolean Algebra

II. Predicate Logic

(include topics like Predicates, Quantifiers, Inference proofs, etc.)

Inference rules reference sheet (slides version)Reference sheet containing axioms and rules for doing inference proofs (modus ponens, direct proof, intro/elim, etc.).Inference Rules

III. Sets & Number Theory

(include topics like Sets, Proof by Cases, Modular Arithmetic, Primes and GCD, etc.)

Sets reference sheetReference sheet containing common sets, containment, equality, subsets, and Set OperationsSets
English proof style guideA guide to forming English Proofs, from creating your introduction, to choosing your proof style, to concluding your proof.English Proofs
Number theory reference sheetReference sheet containing definitions and theorems related to number theory (prime, composite, GCD, mod, etc.)Division Theorem, Modular Arithmetic, Primes and GCD
Modular ExponentiationA guide on how to utilize a quick modular exponentiation algorithm.Modular Arithmetic

IV. Induction

(include topics like Induction, Strong Induction, Structural Induction, etc.)

Induction templatesTemplates to follow when forming arguments for induction, strong induction, and structural induction.Induction, Strong Induction, Structural Induction


There is an optional textbook relevant to the first 6–7 weeks of the course:

Rosen, Kenneth H. 2007. Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications. 6th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Available at UW Libraries.

Rosen’s text is useful if you like to read ahead or want a resource with many practice problems. Here is a list of relevant chapters, but it might be slightly out of order.

Older (and newer) editions are likely to have most or all of the same content, but the section numbers may be shifted.

Other Readings

If you would like readings, but do not wish to invest in a textbook (or just want a different perspective), we have some suggested alternatives:

Wikipedia has thorough articles on most topics we discuss, but they often go very deep very quickly, making them sometimes hard to read.

With all of these resources, be careful that definitions and notations frequently differ between authors in subtle ways. Even simple sentences do not always mean what you think they mean.