Combinatorial Mathematics

开始时间: 待定 持续时间: 11 weeks

所在平台: edX

课程类别: 计算机科学

大学或机构: tsinghuax(清华)

授课老师: Yuchun Ma



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*Note - This is an Archived course*

Our lives are full of combinations. Combinatorial mathematics is just the science to deal with combinations of discrete items. As an ancient field, the history of combinatorial mathematics could be traced back over 4000 years to the age of the Great Yu in ancient China. Nowadays, it is regarded as the fundamental knowledge of computer science since the algorithms in programming heavily rely on the analysis of the discrete elements.

Instead of relying on the traditional mathematical "theorem - proof" format, we show various principles in an intuitive manner with ancient stories, the scenes of movies and even the magic show. Specific topics covered include:

  • The counting principles based on  the basic operations “+”, “-”, “*”, “/”; 
  • Generating functions;
  • Recurrent number serials such as Fibonacci number, Catalan number etc;
  • Pigeon hole principles;
  • Inclusion and exclusion principles;
  • Polya counting based on group theory.

The contents of this course are mainly based on the corresponding Tsinghua Class (Combinatorics) -- a course that has been awarded as the quality curriculum in Tsinghua. It is ideal for students who are interested in mathematics or computer science. It will lead you to gasp the mathematical theory essentially needed to solve the real-world applications.



  • 基于四则运算的计数法则;
  • 母函数;
  • 递推序列,如斐波那契数,卡特兰数等;
  • 鸽巢原理;
  • 容斥原理;
  • 基于群论的波利亚定理。



I don’t speak Chinese, can I take the course?

All the materials are in English. Though the original video was recorded in Chinese, the course team recorded the corresponding dubbing in English and embedded in the video. All the audio and subtitles are processed to fit the English dubbing as much as possible, so that you can enjoy this wonderful course in English.

What are the textbook and the reference books for this course?

There is no textbook requirement for this course. The handouts distributed every week are critical. The following books are references

Richard A. Brualdi; Introductory Combinatorics (5th edition), Pearson, 2009

J.H.van Lint and R.M. Wilson; A course in Combinatorics, Cambridge University Press, 2001


What is the grading breakdown?

70% quizzes and exercises

30% final exam

How can I get the certificate?

If your final score is no less than 60.

Do I need to know how to program to learn this class?

Not necessary. This course is a math course which is based on fundamental theory. But to help the students to have the intuitive feel of the effects of the theory, we also provide a code lib that you can compare different implementations by running different programs.

This is a past/archived course. At this time, you can only explore this course in a self-paced fashion. Certain features of this course may not be active, but many people enjoy watching the videos and working with the materials. Make sure to check for reruns of this course.


  • 了解生活上的组合和数学的历史
  • 深入学习计数的抽象理论和具体方法
  • 深入理解组合数学对计算机理论发展的推动作用
  • Counting principles in our daily lives
  • Applying math to computer science and financial analysis
  • The science behind combinations of discrete items



60240013x will not only provide a thorough understanding of the counting principles in our daily life, but also discover how the math knowledge could be applied in many areas such as computer science, and financial analysis.


组合数学 离散数学