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17 July, 2019
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Discrete structures are foundational material for computer science. By foundational we mean that relatively few computer scientists will be working primarily on discrete structures, but that many other areas of computer science require the ability to work with concepts from discrete structures. Discrete structures include important material from such areas as set theory, logic, graph theory, and combinatorics.
The material in discrete structures is pervasive in the areas of data structures and algorithms but appears elsewhere in computer science as well. For example, an ability to create and understand a proof—either a formal symbolic proof or a less formal but still mathematically rigorous argument—is essential in formal specification, in verification, in databases, and in cryptography. Graph theory concepts are used in networks, operating systems, and compilers. Set theory concepts are used in software engineering and in databases.