That Weird Math Course

O. Guy Morley

February 1, 2019

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

If there is a choice between a test and no test, are you going to choose a test? Don’t you have bad memories of tests? I had more than plenty. So, when I had to choose a section of a required math course in college, I automatically chose the one with no test. Prof. Matt Fovia was well known for that. Yay! That was a relief. I also knew that he gave a lot of homework and that course was not easy at all. But those seemed a small price for avoiding tests.

I was a sophomore, majoring in Computer Science. And, Discrete Mathematics was a required course. Actually, it was called Discrete Structures of Computer Science at my college. Any way, to most of us, the course seemed extremely abstract and dry. We didn’t know why it was required for the first place. On the first day, Prof. Fovia told us about the course. Disc Math is a set of components to model the real world … mathematically and thus computationally. Since we, computer science students, were learning to develop computer systems and programs that deal with the real world, it was supposed to be absolutely essential. He also said that it is pointless if he couldn’t convince us during early in the semester. That was his main concern. I was curious how he could ever do that.

Soon after the course introduction, Prof. Fovia gave us the very first in-class exercise. We were told to work in pairs of students, assigned by him. The task was to come up with a drawing of a (hypothetical) North Pole scenario satisfying the conditions shown below.

Note: The rest of the story can be read at: and is also available in the PDF format:

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