I'm about to start a Masters in Software Engineering at university and have not studied/used-intensely anything mathematical for 6 years. I know that computing science makes use of discrete mathematics, and i already have a text book in mind for getting to grips with that topic (Discrete Mathematics with Applications by Susanna Epp), but i just need some help in finding a text book as a precursor to Discrete Mathematics as I'm worried that after 6 years I'll be very very rusty.

I had a couple in mind, but they're quite large:
1) Foundation Mathematics
2) Maths A Student's Survival Guide.

If anyone knows if I'm in the right area/these are the right text books/or has any better solutions please let me know!

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    $\begingroup$ Discrete math usually starts from pretty basic fundamentals. I suggest taking a look at your textbook first before assuming that you won't be understand it. $\endgroup$
    – tskuzzy
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ I concur with tskuzzy in that most Discrete Math texts/classes start with "pretty basic fundamentals": elementary logic, relations, etc...preparing you for material later in the text. Don't get overwhelmed by the TOC: you're not expected to know the material before studying it (after all, that's what the text is for!). Also, see other posts for text recommendations, if your planning to cover the material on your own , e.g here... $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ ...or here and many more listed under "Related" to your right (blue hyperlinks to similar questions). $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ You’re fortunate: Epp’s book is one of the gentlest introductions to discrete mathematics out there. It’s especially good for those whose mathematical background is largely computational and who haven’t before had to deal with constructing the occasional proof: she frequently makes a point of showing how one might arrive at an argument. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 19:41
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    $\begingroup$ Read the first few sections of your textbook. That will tell you if you are rusty. $\endgroup$
    – Jay
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 22:51

1 Answer 1


A good introduction to ANY elementary mathematics is "What is Mathematics?" by Courant and Robbins.

I also like "Mathematics for the Million" by Lancelot Hogben.

Both of these are available in reasonably-priced paperback editions.

As long as I'm throwing out book recommendations, another of my favorites is "Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers" by R. W. Hamming.


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