Math 105 - Introduction to Mathematical Ideas

Course Coordinator

Mark Hunacek (

Catalog Description

MATH 105. Introduction to Mathematical Ideas.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS. Prereq: Satisfactory performance on placement exam, 2 years of high school algebra, 1 year of high school geometry
Topics from mathematics and mathematical applications with emphasis on their nontechnical content.


book coverHunacek
Math 105
ISU Custom Edition
ISBN: 9781269121453


  • The mathematics of voting; the various ways to determine a winner in preference ballot voting situations, and why none is totally satisfactory. (Chapter 1)
  • Measurement of power in yes/no voting situations: Banzhaf and Shapley-Shubik power indices. (Chapter 2)
  • The mathematics of fair division. (Chapter 3)
  • Apportionment problems. (Chapter 4)
  • Introduction to game theory. (Chapter 5)


Understanding the basic methods and limitations of preference voting methods

  • To be able to understand what the idea of a “preference ballot” is when voters choose among several alternatives
  • To be able to understand how to tabulate a preference ballot and select a winner according to a variety of different voting methods: Borda Count, plurality, Hare, Coombs, Copeland, etc.
  • To be able to understand the various criteria that have been developed to judge the adequacy of the voting methods discussed above
  • To be able to understand and construct simple arguments or counter-examples illustrating that a various method does or does not violate a given criteria
  • To be able to understand the statement of Arrow’s Theorem, which (loosely speaking) asserts that no “perfect” voting system exists

Understanding the basic methods of yes-no voting and the assessment of power in such a voting system

  • To be able to understand and analyze simple yes-no voting systems where different people may have a different number of votes
  • To be able, in such systems, to determine who (if anybody) is a dictator, has veto power, etc.
  • To understand the Banzhaf and Shapley-Shubik methods for computing power in such a voting system, and to be able to perform simple computations of voting power

Understanding the basic ideas of apportionment and fair division

  • To be able to understand what an apportionment problem is, and to understand the basic terminology concerning such problems
  • To understand the various apportionment methods (Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, Webster, Huntington-Hill) and perform simple calculations
  • To understand the various methods that have been developed (Lone Divider, Divide and Choose, Method of Markers, Adjusted Winner, etc.) for solving problems in which an object or objects must be divided among several people

Understanding the basic ideas of game theory

  • To understand the meaning of a mathematical “game” and understand several classical examples: Chicken, Battle of the Bismarck Sea, Prisoner’s Dilemma, etc.
  • To understand the difference between a zero-sum and nonzero-sum game
  • To understand what a “saddle point” is in a zero-sum game and to be able to determine whether, for a given game, a saddle point exists
  • To understand the concept of “equilibrium” for a simple zero-sum game
  • To understand the mathematical techniques for determining optimal strategies for simple zero-sum games given by, at least, 2 x 2 matrices

Old Exams

(if there are any)

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Students With Disabilities

If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, you should obtain a Student Academic Accommodation Request (SAAR) from the Disability Resources office (Student Services Building, Room 1076, 294-6624 or TDD 294-6335, or Please contact your instructor early in the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met.

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