© 2008

Sets, Logic and Maths for Computing

  • Authors


  • Only minimal background in mathematics necessary

  • Careful selection of material that is really needed by students in the first two years of their university life in Computer Science and Information Sciences

  • Brings out the interplay between qualitative thinking and calculation

  • Teaches the material as a language for thinking in, as much as knowledge to be gained


Part of the Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science book series (UTICS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. David Makinson
    Pages 1-28
  3. David Makinson
    Pages 29-62
  4. David Makinson
    Pages 123-152
  5. David Makinson
    Pages 153-187
  6. David Makinson
    Pages 189-217
  7. David Makinson
    Pages 219-264
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 297-301

About this book


University studies in computing require the ability to pass from a concrete problem to an abstract representation, reason with the abstract structure, and return with useful solutions to the specific situation.

The tools for developing these skills are in part qualitative – concepts such as set, relation, function, and structures such as trees and well-founded orders. They are also in part quantitative – notably elementary combinatorics and finite probability. Recurring in all of these are instruments of proof, both purely logical ones (such as proof by contradiction) and mathematical (the various forms of induction).


• Explains the basic mathematical tools required by students as they set out in their studies of Computer or Information Science

• Explores the interplay between qualitative thinking and calculation

• Teaches the material as a language for thinking, as much as knowledge to be acquired

• Uses an intuitive approach with a focus on examples for all general concepts

• Provides numerous exercises, solutions and proofs to deepen and test the reader’s understanding

• Includes highlight boxes that raise common queries and clear away confusions

• Tandems with additional electronic resources including slides on author's website

This easy-to-follow text allows readers to carry out their computing studies with a clear understanding of the basic finite mathematics and logic that they will need. Written explicitly for undergraduates, it requires only a minimal mathematical background and is ideal for self-study as well as classroom use.


Computer Computer Science Computing Discrete Mathematics Information Science combinatorics logic sets

About the authors

David Makinson is currently Visiting Professor at London School of Economics (LSE). Previous affiliations include the Department of Computer Science at King’s College London, UNESCO in Paris, and the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He is well known for his early research in modal and deontic logics, and more recently in the logic of belief change (as one of the founders of the AGM paradigm) and nonmonotonic reasoning.

Bibliographic information

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From the reviews:

"The book covers the very basic concepts of sets, relations, functions, induction and recursion, combinatorics, probability, trees, propositional logic, and elementary concepts of predicate logic. The text is easy to read, and the concepts are presented in an understandable way using many examples. The book contains exercises with solutions, gives several further exercises, and hints for further selected reading. … the book is recommended for undergraduates as a very first introduction to the basic ideas of finite mathematics and logic." (D. Seese, ACM Computing Reviews, January, 2009)