MAS334 Combinatorics
Lecturer: Neil Strickland

Module information

The official course information page is here. Notes, problem sheets, solutions, past papers and so on can be found on this page. There is also a Blackboard page for the course, with a discussion board and links for uploading homework.

Lecture notes

PDF download HTML version

Both versions of the notes contain links to various interactive demonstrations (described below) and videos.

The HTML version is new. It should be better than the PDF for viewing on a phone, or for reading with a screen reader. I would welcome any comments on either of these use cases.

I strongly recommend that you should attend lectures in person if possible. If you cannot do that, I primarily recommend that you work from the notes and embedded videos and demonstrations, but you may also want to look at the 2020-21 lecture recordings. There is also a lecture progress page where you can see which sections of the notes have been covered in lectures.

Interactive demonstrations

There is a set of interactive demonstrations explaining many of the ideas in the course. I will talk through these in lectures, there are attached YouTube videos, and you can try them yourself at other times. These are experimental and under development. I welcome comments about the extent to which they are comprehensible, useful or interesting.

Recommended books

The main recommended book is Aspects of Combinatorics by Victor Bryant
(Amazon, Google Books).
The author taught combinatorics in Sheffield for many years.

Another possibility is A First Course in Combinatorial Mathematics by Ian Anderson
(Amazon, Google Books).

Homework schedule

In Weeks 1, 3, 5, 8 and 10 there will be online tests. These will use the same system that was used for MAS220 and MAS221 last year, so it should be familiar for most students.

In weeks 2, 4, 6, 9 and 11 I will issue offline problem sheets. Each of these will specify one or two problems that you can submit via Blackboard; I will then mark your work and return it the following week. These problem sheets, and subsequently the solutions, will appear on this page.

Formal assessment will be based solely on the final exam.

Problem sheet 3
Please hand in Exercises 3.1 and 3.2 by the end of Week 6.
Problem sheet 2 Solutions
Please hand in Exercises 2.1 and 2.5 by the end of Week 4.
Problem sheet 1 Solutions
Please hand in Exercises 1.1 and 1.3 by the end of Week 2.

Past exam papers

The 2020-21 exam was online and open book. For 2021-22 we will revert to having a closed book exam in the exam hall.

2020-21ExamSolutions
2019-20ExamSolutions
2018-19ExamSolutions
2017-18ExamSolutions
2016-17ExamSolutions
2015-16ExamSolutions

Office hours

Official office hours are 11:00-12:00 on Fridays. I will expect people to come to my office (Hicks J26) by default, but you can email me to arrange an online meeting if you prefer. If you find me in my office at some other time, then I may well be able to talk to you, but I do not guarantee it.

Contact details

Neil Strickland
N.P.Strickland@sheffield.ac.uk
Hicks Building, Room J26
0114 2223852