There are several important reasons for studying discrete mathematics. First, through this course you can develop your mathematical maturity, that is, your ability to understand and create mathematical arguments. You will not get very far in your studies in the mathematical sciences without these skills.
Second, discrete mathematics is the gateway to more advanced courses in all parts of the mathematical sciences. Discrete mathematics provides the mathematical foundations for many computer science courses, including data structures, algorithm, database theory, automata theory, formal languages, compiler theory, computer security, and operating systems. Students find these courses much more difficult when they have not had the appropriate mathematical foundations from discrete math. One student has sent me and electronic mail message to tell me that she used the contents of this book in every computer science course she took!
Math course based on the material studied in discrete mathematics include logic, set theory, number theory, linear algebra, abstract algebra, combinatorics, graph theory, and probability theory (the discrete part of the subject).
Also, discrete mathematics contains the necessary mathematical background for solving problems in operations research (including many discrete optimization techniques), chemistry, engineering, biology, and so on. In the text, we will study applications to some of these areas.
Many students find their introductory discrete mathematics course to be significantly more challenging than courses they have previously taken. One reason for this is that one of the primary goals of this course is to teach mathematical reasoning and problem solving, rater than a discrete set of skills. The exercises in this book are designed to reflect this goal. Although there are plenty of exercises in this text similar to those addressed in the examples, a large percentage of the exercises require original thought. This is intentional. The material discussed in the text provides the tools needed to solve these exercise, but your job is to successfully apply these tools using your own creativity. One of the primary goals of this course is to learn how to attack problems that may be somewhat different from any you may have previously seen. Unfortunately, learning how to solve only particular needed in subsequent courses and professional work. This text addresses many different topics, but discrete mathematics is an extremely diverse and large area of study. One of my goals as an author is to help you develop the skills needed to master the additional material you will need in your own future pursuits.