Teaching: COMP11120

COMP11120: Mathematical Techniques for Computer Science

(Semesters 1 and 2, 2020/2021)

Shortcuts: Course notesCourseworkSolutionsExamsOfficial SyllabusBlackboard

Please note that all files available on this page are now available via Blackboard, and this site is mainly present to provide information to CM students about maths studied by SH computer science students as well as access to the lecture.


Mathematics is an important discipline in its own right, but there are a number of connections between it and computer science. For example, theoretical computer science is a discipline that is part of both, mathematics and computer science. But also, the language of mathematics, and its methods, are variously used in computer science, in particular to obtain precise descriptions of various circumstances.

The aim of this course unit is to teach you the mathematics required for the curriculum here in Manchester, but also to give you sufficient understanding that you will be able to apply it in your future careers, and to enable you to read relevant literature by yourself. For an overview of the syllabus and the practicalities of the unit, including the teaching staff, see the official syllabus page.

Course notes

Notes for Semester 1. Please note that printed copies are handed out in two parts.

Despite my best efforts, the notes may still contain some errors. I keep an up-to-date list of them available here.

The notes, including the exercises, cover all the examinable material for this part of the course. I appreciate any feedback on the course in general as well as on the material handed out. For this purpose please email me at A.Schalk at cs.manchester.ac.uk.

The notes are written in a fair amount of detail because you are expected to spend some time each week in self-study. I do not explain every detail that appears in the notes in the lectures. The lectures are there for me to introduce the big ideas, and to go through examples with you. Note that the lectures are podcast and you can find a link to those on Blackboard.

The notes also contain organizational information at the beginning. Please read this to find out about the details regarding assessment, and how you are expected to work.

Copies of the notes are handed out at the start of each semester. Left-over copies are deposited with the Student Support Centre. If you lose your notes and no copies are left you can print them again.

For students who would like all the notes in one document, these are available here. These notes are the basis for a text book that I am writing. If you are a student taking COMP11120 this year then note that you will receive a different set of notes on Logic (Chapter 3), from my collague Renate Schmidt. Please note that the notes for Semester 2 will be reviewed, and the current version will not be the one that to be handed out at the start of Semester 2.

Previous versions of this unit

This course began a restructing phase in the academic year 2014/2015. Since then the staff, and quite a bit of the material, has been substantially changed. We here give an overview of those changes.

Examples classes

For each week you have an examples class for the course unit. For each class you are given a number of exercises which you are expected to (try to) solve. Make sure you submit your work by the deadline.

The point of the examples classes is to

Solutions to the exercises in the notes are made available on Blackboard.


The first handout has a section entitled `Organization' which spells out what contributes to the coursework mark for this unit.

The exams

There are two exams, one after each semester. There usually is also an invigilated test halfway through Semester 1.


Here is the 2019/20 mid-term test and its solutions, the 2018/19 mid-term test and its solutions, the 2017/18 mid-term test and its solutions, the 2016/17 mid-term test and its solutions, and the 2015/16 mid-term test and its solutions.

Exams by year

Exam Format:

The department keeps a wealth of information on exams, when they are, how to prepare for them, where to find old exam papers (where they exist), etc, here.

Past exam papers as well as feedback on these are available at here.

Resits: If your mark on COMP11120 is insufficient to allow you to progress you will have to resit it. Note that assessment at resit is based exclusively on your mark for one paper that covers material from the whole year. There are three questions:

Note in particular that failing the unit because you missed one of the exams will still require you to learn all the material for the resit.

07 September 2020