MATH 557 Probabilistic Methods in Combinatorics (Ellis)

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Instructor: Robert Ellis Office: E1 Bldg, Rm 105C Email:


TR 1:50-3:15pm
Possible problem session TBA
E1 Bldg. 124

Office Hours

MW Walk-in
TR by appointment
Office phone 567-5336

Teaching Assistant



Alon and Spencer, The Probabilistic Method, 3rd edition, John Wiley 2008 (ISBN 978-0-470-17020-5).

First day handout (pdf)
Course syllabus (pdf)

Midterm, 3/4/10 (pdf)

Due date Assignment
Tue Jan 19
12 noon
Prepare an 8-minute presentation on research interests using this template. Send slides to me by 12 noon and be prepared to present them at the class meeting.
Thu Jan 21
Beginning of class
HW 1: Passed out in class. Email me for a copy if you were absent.
Tue Feb 2
Beginning of class
HW 2: pdf
Recitation is at 11:15am-12:15pm, location TBA. Claim a problem in Blackboard.
Tue Feb 9,16
HW 3: pdf
Recitation is at 11:15am-12:15pm, E1 106. Claim a problem in Blackboard.
Homeweork is due on R 2/16.
Tue Feb 23
recitation questions
Recitation is at 11:25am-12:15pm, E1 106. Claim a problem in Blackboard. 17 minute limit will now be enforced for presentation of solutions.
Tue Mar 16
recitation questions
Recitation is at 11:25am-12:15pm, E1 106. Claim a problem in Blackboard. 17 minute limit per problem.
Tue Mar 23
HW 4: pdf
Tue Mar 30
recitation questions
Thu Apr 1
HW 5: homework questions
Tue Apr 6
recitation questions
Tue Apr 20
recitation questions
Thu Apr 22
HW 6: homework questions
Tue Apr 27
recitation questions

Lecture number
and date
Notes (posted in Blackboard) Scribe Reviewer
Sample/template scribe notes tex pdf
(copy .tex file)
Joe Scriber N/A
1/12/10 #1   Daniel Tietzer Xuanxing Xiong
1/14/10 #2   Junghwan Shin Hong Liu
1/21/10 #3   Hong Liu Junghwan Shin
1/26/10 #4   Chris Gomes Jinyu Huang
1/28/10 #5   Jinyu Huang Chris Gomes
2/2/10 #6   Shiguang Wang Xingliang Yuan
2/4/10 #7   Xuanxing Xiong Daniel Tietzer
2/9/10 #8   Xingliang Yuan Shiguang Wang
2/11/10 #9   Xingliang Yuan Shiguang Wang
2/16/10 #10   Shiguang Wang Xingliang Yuan
2/23/10 #11   Junghwan Shin Hong Liu
2/25/10 #12   Chris Gomes Daniel Tietzer
3/2/10 #13   Daniel Tietzer Chris Gomes
3/4/10 Exam      
3/16/10 #14   Xuanxing Xiong Jinyu Huang
3/18/10 #15   Jinyu Huang Xuanxing Xiong
3/23/10 #16   Hong Liu Junghwan Shin
3/25/10 #17   Chris Gomes Daniel Tietzer
3/30/10 #18   Daniel Tietzer Shiguang Wang
4/6/10 #19   Xuanxing Xiong Xingliang Yuan
4/8/10 #20   Xingliang Yuan Xuanxing Xiong
4/13/10 #21   Shiguang Wang Jinyu Huang
4/15/10 #22   Hong Liu Chris Gomes
4/20/10 #23   Junghwan Shin Hong Liu
4/22/10 #24   Jinyu Huang Junghwan Shin

Scribe procedure: scribe drafts notes within 48 hours (2 days) after lecture; emails draft to reviewer and instructor. Reviewer checks for errors in math, grammar, and references/citations, and replies within 96 hours (4 days) after lecture, emailing review to scribe and instructor. Scribe implements changes within 144 hours (6 days) after lecture, emails final notes to instructor. 20% lates penalty per day late.
Use the following LaTeX template for your scribe notes, which has instructions inside the file as comments:
LaTeX sample scribe notes (courtesy of Sam Buss).
Some guidelines for scribe notes are here (courtesy of Eric Bach).
Labels in your scribe notes: It is critical to make labels of the form \label{lectureNumber:labelType:labelName} so that the course notes document will be able to compile all scribe notes together without label conflicts, and so future scribes can easily reference labels from previous notes.