I had this course with Toman and Buss. It was actually quite good. I took a lot away from the course, and got a decent mark. It's not really that hard. Midterm and final both open book. If you know how to do structural induction and you understand proof-writing, you'll be fine.
It's not so much that the course material is difficult, but that Toman is the most disorganized professor out there. Trying to pick out from his lectures what were supposed to be points of importance is quite the task. His notes on the board are useless and also hard to follow (center board to top of left board to bottom of right board to top of right board to bottom of left, etc, while arrows and random words and thrown in every once in a while).
I am taking this course right now and find it to be a lot easier than what people are mentioning here. My prof is Omer Mirza Beg and from how people describe Toman, it looks like my prof is much better. Even though I might not take take anything useful from this course, at least I understand everything thats going on in class :)
The course itself isn't that hard, it's just that Toman is the WORST prof I have ever had at UW. It's not just his accent, his notes and lectures are very disorganized. It's very hard to understand what's going on.
If it weren't for my awesome TAs I would have failed the course. I managed to finish with a 70 which was the biggest fluke ever.
Wow- this was the easiest course I've ever taken- I mean out of all of my courses- not just CS. Who knew a prof could make such a big difference. I took it with the female (don't remember her name) and lots of people said she made it really easy. Maybe take it a different term when she's teaching?
@Op: If you can switch into another class or take it at a later date, do it. I would really, really not suggest taking it now. I've heard people were able to get into CS240 or 241 without taking 245 first if they asked the CS Advisors about it since 245 isn't technically required at all. (You won't really learn anything in it that will help you in those courses.) Arguably any teacher that isn't Toman will teach it acceptably but don't even bother with Toman's class.
@7: It's not even always open-book. I think the tutors had to fight for an open-book exam because no one was retaining anything when I took 245 with Toman/Buss. We were only told about the midterm being open-book a day or two before it happened so I assume it was relatively last-minute and it probably isn't safe to assume all of their midterms are open-book.
I took it during Fall 2011 with Buss/Toman. It was awful and it was NOT easy. The entire course was just a huge mess. Worst academic experience thus far, fuck them. I guess you haven't truly experienced Waterloo CS until you take a course with Toman....
OP here - in Fall 2012, there's only 2 profs teaching it - I don't have Toman, I have Igor Ivkovic. Will that make any difference in how hard the course will be for me? All evaluations would be the same anyway... right? Maybe I should take something else.
It is really not as bad as its reputation. Yes, it can be difficult at times, but I took the course last fall, and received a mark higher than my usual average. Just don't expect to be able to do the assignments the night before, and you will be fine.