Welcome to CS46: Theory of Computation! Computer technology changes rapidly, but the underlying model of computation is relatively unchanged in the past 50 years. How do computers compute, and why is this method of computation preferred over others methods? Do other methods even exist? Could we solve more interesting problems with another model? Could we solve the same problems we solve today using a simpler model of computation? In this course will will look at various theoretical models of computation and examine the computational power of these models. For each model we consider problems that can and cannot be solved, and develop a rigorous method of classifying how difficult certain problems are to compute. While the course emphasis is on theory, there are many applications of the topics discussed. Regular expressions, compilers, CPU job scheduling, and many other realworld problems have some underlying computational model rooted in the theory of computation.
WEEK  DAY  ANNOUNCEMENTS  TOPIC & READING  HOMEWORK 
1  Jan 21  Math preliminaries Languages Intro to finite automata Read Chapter 0, 1.1, notes 
HW1 pdf notes 

Jan 23  
2  Jan 28  Finite automata regular languages Read Chapter 1 
HW2 pdf notes 

Jan 30  Drop/Add ends (Jan 31)  
3  Feb 04  nondeterminism nonregular languages 
HW3 pdf notes 

Feb 06  
4  Feb 11  Context free grammars  HW4 pdf notes 

Feb 13  
5  Feb 18  Pushdown automata Context free languages 
HW5 pdf notes 

Feb 20  
6  Feb 25  Turing Machine Intro  
Feb 27  Midterm I 79pm Sci 104 

7  Mar 04  Turing machine extensions 

Mar 06  
Mar 11 
Spring Vacation 

Mar 13 

8  Mar 18  Decidability, Unsolvable problems  HW6 pdf notes 

Mar 20  
9  Mar 25  Reductions  HW7 pdf notes 

Mar 27  Last day to declare CR/NC or withdraw with a "W" (Mar 28) 

10  Apr 01  Intro to Complexity Theory  
Apr 03  Midterm II 79pm Sci 104 

11  Apr 08  Computational complexity  
Apr 10 
No Class 

12  Apr 15  NPcomplete problems  HW8 pdf notes 

Apr 17  
13  Apr 22  Approximation Algorithms  HW9 pdf notes 

Apr 24  
14  Apr 29  Wrapup  
May 01  
May 08 
Final exams start 

May 17 
Final exams end 
35%  Homework assignments 
10%  Lab assignments 
5%  Class Participation and Discussion 
30%  Midterm exams 
20%  Final Exam 
Each week, reading and several problems will be assigned. You should work on all of the problems but hand in clearly written solutions to a subset (usually four) of the problems at the beginning of the Thursday session. Sometimes I will specify certain problems that must be part of what you hand in. All students should be prepared to discuss the reading and solutions to any of the problems. Always do all parts of a problem unless I specify otherwise.
It is best if you start the assignments early, and at least read the problems and make sure you understand what the problem is asking soon after the problems are assigned. If you do not understand a problem, ask for clarification. I often find that the solution to problems in this course only come if the problems sit in your brain for several hours, even if you are not constantly thinking about the problem during that time.
Late assignments will not be accepted except in extreme situations and only if you contact me well before the deadline. Even if you do not fully complete an assignment, you may submit what you have done to receive partial credit.
To receive an accommodation for a course activity, you must have an Accommodation Authorization letter from Leslie Hempling and you need to meet with me to work out the details of your accommodation at least one week prior to the activity.
You are also welcome to contact me privately to discuss your academic needs. However, all disabilityrelated accommodations must be arranged through Leslie Hempling in the Office Of Student Disability Services.
Academic honesty is required in all your work. Under no circumstances may you hand in work done with (or by) someone else under your own name. Your code should never be shared with anyone; you may not examine or use code belonging to someone else, nor may you let anyone else look at or make a copy of your code. This includes, but is not limited to, obtaining solutions from students who previously took the course or code that can be found online. You may not share solutions after the due date of the assignment.
Discussing ideas and approaches to problems with others on a general level is fine (in fact, we encourage you to discuss general strategies with each other), but you should never read anyone else's code or let anyone else read your code. All code you submit must be your own with the following permissible exceptions: code distributed in class, code found in the course text book, and code worked on with an assigned partner. In these cases, you should always include detailed comments that indicates on which parts of the assignment you received help, and what your sources were.
Failure to abide by these rules constitutes academic dishonesty and will lead to a hearing of the College Judiciary Committee. According to the Faculty Handbook: "Because plagiarism is considered to be so serious a transgression, it is the opinion of the faculty that for the first offense, failure in the course and, as appropriate, suspension for a semester or deprivation of the degree in that year is suitable; for a second offense, the penalty should normally be expulsion."
Please contact me if you have any questions about what is permissible in this course.
LaTeX symbol classifier
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Package