Mathematics for Computer Science

The details
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
13 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC G403 Computer Science (Including Foundation Year),
BENGGH46 Computers with Electronics (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

The module covers the mathematical skills needed to proceed to any degree course within Computer Science. The syllabus covers the mathematics of basic arithmetic, algebra and graphs, finite summations and series, converting between and using different number systems and differentiation. The associated work in classes and lab sessions develops the skills used to solve relevant problems, with classwork and online assignments being set and full solutions provided as part of the feedback process.

Module aims

To ensure that students from a wide range of educational backgrounds have an understanding of core mathematical skills needed within the study of Computer Science.

To develop the ability to acquire knowledge and skills from lectures, classwork exercises, and mathematical software and application of theory to a range of weekly tasks.

To develop students' ability to use these skills in their subsequent degree course.

To equip students with the mathematical techniques needed to solve problems involving topics from the syllabus and to clearly structure their solutions and conclusions.

To give students the ability to display functions graphically and interpret graphs.

To give students an understanding of differentiation and how to use this to analyse graphs of functions.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student is expected to be able to:

1. Understand and use basic arithmetic and algebra;
2. Understand different number systems and ability to work within different systems as well as convert between them;
3. Ability to plot basic graphs and understand shifts in graphs;
4. Ability to evaluate finite summations and series and predict convergence/divergence of series from plots;
5. Understand and use differentiation and partial differentiation to find the gradient of functions of one or two variables;
6. Analyse functions by interpreting results from differentiation;
7. Understand basic mathematical syntax used to input expressions into various software packages.

Module information

Basic arithmetic and algebra.

Number systems: Working in and converting between decimal, binary, octal, hexadecimal, and q-ary, systems.

Graphical representation of functions, shifts in graphs and graphical solution of equations.
Finite summations and series.

Calculus: differentiation of linear and polynomial functions, partial differentiation of functions of two variables, turning points, applications of differentiation.

Basics of trigonometry

Boolean algebra

Practical application of mathematics to computer science related problems.

Learning and teaching methods

Assessment 40% coursework and 60% exam
Pass mark: 40% Formative coursework

Students engage in weekly worksheets, lab sessions and online assignments and receive in class feedback.

Summative assessment
In-class test 1 (15%) The first in-class test examines students' understanding of mathematical concepts taught in the first six lectures of the course. These concepts include: prime factorisation, solving basic exercises involving arithmetic operations, solving basic exercises involving algebraic operations, solving systems of simultaneous linear equations, solving linear and quadratic equations, basic linear graphs concepts and solving worded questions.

In-class test 2 (20%) The second in-class test examines students' understanding of further mathematical concepts used in computer science. These concepts include: solving exercises and worded questions using calculus (differentiation of linear and polynomials functions, partial differentiation and gradients), basics of trigonometry and Boolean algebra, exercises involving operations in and conversion between different number bases. Emphasis is put on questions relating to computer science concepts.

Participation mark (5%) Participation marks are awarded for completing mini online assignments during the lab sessions of the module. The assignments are based around the topics taught during the weekly lectures.

2.5 hour exam during Summer Examination period (60%) The final exam consists of a 150 minutes written exam which includes questions covering all the topics taught during the course and included in the syllabus. Emphasis is put on questions relating to computer science concepts.

Reassessment strategy
Failed Exam - Resit the exam which is re-aggregated with existing coursework mark to create a new module aggregate.
Failed Coursework - Resit the exam which counts as coursework and is then re-aggregated with the existing exam mark to create a new module aggregate.
Failed Exam and Coursework - Resit the exam which will count as 100% exam mark. The exam will cover all the learning outcomes.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework In-class Test 1 37.5%
Coursework In-class Test 2 50.00%
Coursework Participation 12.5%
Exam 150 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
40% 60%


Coursework Exam
40% 60%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mano Golipour-Koujali, Dr Billy Woods
Kate Smith (catsmith@essex.ac.uk) or 01206 874564



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 291 hours, 158 (54.3%) hours available to students:
93 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
40 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Pathways

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