MATH 112 projects

Each week, I will give you a project that is due one week later. Each week's project is really a choice of several options; you may choose any one of them.

Please write these up as coherent essays with full sentences. The only exceptions are diagrams, graphs, or examples of programming code; even these should only serve to illustrate your written prose. Typing your text would be a very good idea. If I can't read your project, either because it's illegible or because the writing makes no sense, then that will be very bad for your grade! I'm not going to take off points for bad grammar, but I do need to be able to understand what you've said.

Some of the project specifications include a list of questions. Please don't just write your paper as a list of questions and answers. Instead, these questions are intended to suggest what you might want to write about. Your answer should make sense on its own, even to somebody that never read the questions.

Typically, a good project will be about two or three pages. So you don't need to write a lot of words; the important thing is to make it clear that you've thought about the ideas.

Types of projects

Some options involve Programming; these may or may not require you to write actual code, but they will all require some programming familiarity or knowledge. But you can't do a Programming project by only writing a program! Like other projects, Programming projects are essays, asking you to write your own thoughts about a topic; your programming code (if any) only illustrates your essay.

In later weeks, some options will involve Proofs; I will ask you to write a rigorous mathematical proof for these. By the end of the course, you will have to do a Proof project! But even these projects are really essays, since a written proof in mathematics (as practised by human beings) is simply an essay explaining why something must be true. So don't just give a string of logical symbols with no words.

Research

You may want to do outside research for your project. In fact, I would recommend it! Some material on the topics that I will ask about can be found on the Internet by a simple web search. You can also look at the Resources listed at the bottom of the first day's handout (and linked from the course web page). But don't hesitate to look in the old-fashioned library if you find a reference that you think will be helpful.

You must cite your sources! If you get an idea from a web site or a book (or just talking with a friend), then say where you got the idea from. If you want to copy words that somebody else wrote, then put quotation marks around them and say who wrote them. (You should also include complete citations for the sources; give exactly the URL of a web page, for example, or the page number and edition of a book.) There's really no reason to cheat in this regard, because it's perfectly OK to use other people's ideas as long as you don't claim credit for those ideas. The only thing is, the point of the essay is to say what you think; so, after copying somebody else's words with quotation marks and a complete citation, be sure to write your own text explaining what you think about it.

The projects


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