Saturday, December 31, 2016

Conversion to MathBook XML is Complete!

HTML front page

It took about a year, but Applied Discrete Structures is completely converted to MathBook XML.  The source code has been converted to both HTML and LaTeX, available at  The main site also has a link to the source code on GitHub.  For the minority who prefer hard copy the main site also has links to You can buy Part 1 (Chapters 1-10), Part 2 (Chapters 11-16), or the combined Parts 1 and 2.

Cover to the full print version.

The content is essentially the same previous versions, but there are several  improvements/features in the new version. 
  • The pdf version is extensively hyperlinked and the HTML version has knowl links.
  • Sage notes have been expanded, and the HTML version includes live, editable Sage cells.
  • There is a table of notation and an index. 
  • An appendix on algorithms has been expanded to include a section on the Invariant Relation Theorem. 
  • A few WeBWork exercises have been added to the HTML version, with an eye toward adding many more in the future. 
A WeBWork exercises embedded in Section 15.3.

Two significant deletions: Mathematica notes have been removed, and the introduction to Logic Design section of Chapter 13 has been left out for now.  I've had trouble finding a good utility for drawing simple logical gates. This is on the to-do list.

There are several other things my to-do list.  They include more a user survey, better web tracking, more WeBWork, and better cover art (I'm in a rut with the cover design!).   Some students have requested  background information on dictionaries and iterables. I may try writing up short introductions to these topics if I can find a way to integrate math into the discussion, or maybe I'll just point a good tutorial if I can find one I like.
Happy NewYear!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Chapters 1-3 and Algorithms Appendix converted to MathBook XML

The first three chapters of Applied Discrete Structures have been converted to MathBook XML.  There will be some adjustments to be made (like adding solutions to many of the exercises) but these chapters are in pretty good shape.

At the request of Rob Krueger (Concordia U.), I've also updated and converted the short appendix on Algorithms that we had in the 1989 edition. I added a section on the Invariant Relation Theorem that I've been meaning to write up for a while.  Having the ability to include Sage Cells into the text really enhances the html version.

The html version is available at

After finals and a few other chair related tasks (64 days left as I type this!), I'll make a LaTex version available.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Chapter 1 of ADS using Mathbook XML

A reformatting of Chapter 1: Set Theory of  Applied Discrete Structures was just completed using  Mathbook XML, an application for authors of scientific articles, textbooks and monographs initiated by Rob Beezer, U. of Puget Sound.

The chapter was converted by exporting the Mathematica Notebook to XML and then making many adjustments by hand to Mathbook XML.  I wanted to do this as a learning process. Next, I want to explore ways to convert remaining Mathematica Notebooks using their natural structure with regular expressions. Whether that works out remains to be seen.
The source code for Chapter 1 and some abbreviated front matter was converted to html and can be viewed at .   One of the advantages of this conversion  is that the html sizes nicely to whatever you view it on, from a phone to a desktop browser.  Also it will be the easy to convert to LaTeX and other formats.

A first look at the new format.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Developments in Open Source Textbooks: mathbook XML

Rob Beezer at University of Puget Sound is spearheading the development of MathBook XML, which is "a lightweight XML application for authors of scientific articles, textbooks and monographs."  I'm seriously considering a conversion from Mathematica Notebooks to this new format.

I spend a bit of time playing with the current version this week and converted a very small web page with a few sage cells. Then I exported to html.

It wasn't obvious to me what code should appear in the output field of the sage sections, which would be all graphics in this case.  It isn't a problem for the html version since the cells can be evaluated.  Converted to LaTeX, the lack of output is a problem, but it still looks good.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

2015 Economic Impact - rough estimates.

2015 Economic Impact of Applied Discrete Structures

We had a event on campus where open source textbooks were one of the featured subjects, so I took the opportunity to put together the numbers for the economic impact of Applied Discrete Structures (ADS) for the calendar year 2015.

UML Impact

It's fairly easy to identify the impact here at UML.  I counted 405 students who took the first semester of our discrete math sequence (new course numbers  MATH.3210/3220  Discrete Structures I/II). I continue to assume that the average cost of our previous text with a mix of new/used purchases would be $140.  If 90% use the pdf and save the whole amount and the rest buy the hard copy of ADS.  That translates to a savings of about $55,000 for UML students in 2015.

Outside Impact

The impact on students outside of UML is tougher to estimate.  I know of 14 adoptions in 2015, but have no idea how many more there were.  Working from just what I know, and assuming 25 students per adoptions with the same assumptions about the alternate book and hard copy usage, I come up with around $47,000.


Combining these two amounts, I'm confident we've saved students over $100,000 in 2015.  If you used ADS and are not on the adoption list,  please let me know so that I can update my estimate.