CSI 4336: Introduction to Computation Theory, Fall 2005


Mon Sep 19 12:53:06 CDT 2005
PLEASE NOTE: there was a mistake in homework 2 which has now been corrected. The correction is in the sample answer of question 3 (regular language complement). Please look at the sample answer again.
Fri Aug 26 07:40:38 CDT 2005
Please note that I have placed lecture notes for the first week on the schedule below, and our first quiz on the reading will be on September 1.


This course is an introduction to the theory of computation. There are two main parts to this course: what problems can be computed, and how efficiently given problems can be computed. This course forms the foundation for much of the subsequent research you will do in computer science, so it is important material. Some people find it a very interesting topic, while other people do not. One of the most fascinating parts of this topic is that there are problems which we can describe simply (and we will) which have not yet been solved.

The basic topics covered in this course are:

This is a difficult course. Be prepared to invest the time necessary to understand the concepts, and to do the assignments. My best advice is to attend the lectures, ask questions, and start assignments early.

Practical information

Lectures are from 11:00 AM to 12:20 AM in Rogers 104 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

My office is in the Rogers Engineering and Computer Science building. My office hours are listed on my home page. I am glad to talk to students during and outside of office hours.


Here is a schedule of the material we will cover:

Week Dates New topics Chapters Lecture notes Tuesday Thursday
1 Aug 22-26 Introduction 0 notes
2 Aug 29-Sep 2 Regular languages, Finite automata, Nondeterminism, Regular expressions, Equivalence of REs and FAs, Closure properties for RLs, Decision problems for RLs 1.1-1.3, 4.1 (RL part) notes Homework 1 assigned Quiz #1
3 Sep 5-9 Nonregular languages, Pumping lemma for RLs 1.4 notes In-class exercises
4 Sep 12-16 Context-free languages, Push-down automata, normal forms for CFGs, ambiguity in CFGs Pumping lemma for CFLs, closure properties for CFLs, decision problems for CFLs 2.1-2.3, 4.1 (CFG part) notes Homework 2 assigned Quiz #2
5 Sep 19-23 Exam 1
6 Sep 26-30 Turing machines, variants of the TM, nondeterministic TMs 3 notes
7 Oct 3-7 Universal machines, decidability, the halting problem, undecidable problems by the dozen, Rice's theorem 4.2, 5 notes Quiz #3
8 Oct 10-14 Recursion theorem, fixed-point theorem, compressibility and descriptional complexity 6 (omit 6.2) notes Homework 3 assigned
9 Oct 17-21 Oracle computations, hierarchy of undecidability, computational complexity, resource consumption, complexity classes, logic and decidability, incompleteness 6.2, 7.1 Homework 4 assigned Quiz #4
10 Oct 24-28 Review Exam 2
11 Oct 31-Nov 4 P and NP, polynomial-time reduction, TSP, Hamiltonian circuit and vertex cover 7.2, 7.3
12 Nov 7-11 Boolean satisfiability, Cook-Levin theorem, NP-completeness, survey of NP-complete problems 7.4, 7.5
13 Nov 14-18 More NP-Complete problems, co-NP, alternating TM, polynomial-time hierarchy, pseudo-polynomial time, graph isomorphism 10.3 Homework 5 assigned
14 Nov 21-25 Randomized polynomial time, probabilistic algorithms, primality, unambiguous polynomial time 10.1, 10.2, 10.4 Thanksgiving break
15 Nov 28-Dec 2 Parallel computation, NC, cryptography 10.5, 10.6
16 Dec 5-9 Study day Final exam (9:00 - 11:00 AM)

The final exam date will be Thursday, December 8th between 9:00 and 11:00 AM. The latest university finals information is available here.

Textbooks & resources

Required text: we will be using Michael Sipser's textbook Introduction to the Theory of Computation (2nd Edition). You can purchase this book from the bookstore or amazon, among other places. The first edition may also be suitable (but that is not a promise).

Further online resources:


Grades will be assigned based on this breakdown:

A: 90-100, B+: 88-89, B: 80-87, C+: 78-79, C: 70-77, D: 60-69, F: 0-59

Some homeworks and quizzes may be worth more than others. All exams and quizzes are closed-book. The final will be comprehensive.

There will be several homework assignments. Homeworks are due at the beginning of class on the due dates for full credit. Homeworks turned in after I have collected them but before the end of class will receive a 20% penalty. No homeworks will be accepted after class on the due date.


Academic honesty

I take academic honesty very seriously.

Many studies, including one by Sheilah Maramark and Mindi Barth Maline have suggested that "some students cheat because of ignorance, uncertainty, or confusion regarding what behaviors constitute dishonesty" (Maramark and Maline, Issues in Education: Academic Dishonesty Among College Students, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Research, August 1993, page 5). In an effort to reduce misunderstandings in this course, a minimal list of activities that will be considered cheating have been listed below.

Copyright © 2005 Greg Hamerly, with some content taken from a syllabus by Jeff Donahoo.
Computer Science Department
Baylor University

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