Has our curriculum become math-phobic? (An American perspective)
We are concerned about a view in undergraduate computer science education, especially in the early courses, that it's okay to be math-phobic and still prepare oneself to become a computer scientist. Our view is the contrary: that any serious study of computer science requires students to achieve mathematical maturity (especially in discrete mathematics) early in their undergraduate studies, thus becoming well-prepared to integrate mathematical ideas, notations, and methodologies throughout their study of computer science. A major curricular implication of this theme is that the prerequisite expectations and conceptual level of the first discrete mathematics course should be the same as it is for the first calculus course - secondary school pre-calculus and trigonometry. Ultimately, calculus, linear algebra, and statistics are also essential for computer science majors, but none should occur earlier than discrete mathematics. This paper explains our concerns and outlines our response as a series of examples and recommendations for future action.