An introduction to the theoretical foundations of computer science, examining finite automata, context-free grammars, Turing machines, undecidability, and NP-completeness. Abstract models are employed to help categorize problems as undecidable, intractable, tractable, and efficient.
See the course outline for more information.
Monday, 1:15pm–2:05pm; Wednesday, 12:15pm–1:05pm; Friday, 11:15am–12:05pm
All lectures are held in J. Bruce Brown Hall, room 236.
M. Sipser, Introduction to the Theory of Computation. Cengage, 3rd edition, 2012.
The textbook is available for sale at the campus bookstore. Course notes will also be provided for each lecture.
- Four assignments (12.5% each, total 50%)
- Midterm examination (25%)
- Final examination (25%)
You must write the final examination in order to pass the course, even if the weighted sum of your assignment and midterm examination grades is at least 50%.
- Dec. 5: Lecture notes for the twelfth week have been posted.
- Nov. 25: Lecture notes for the eleventh week have been posted.
- Nov. 23: Assignment 4 has been posted. It is due by Dec. 5 at 1:15pm.
- Nov. 18: Lecture notes for the tenth week have been posted.
- Nov. 4: Lecture notes for the ninth week have been posted.
- Oct. 31: Assignment 3 has been posted. It is due by Nov. 21 at 1:15pm.
- Oct. 28: Lecture notes for the eighth week have been posted.
- Oct. 21: Lecture notes for the seventh week have been posted.
- Oct. 19: The midterm will be written this week during the Oct. 21 lecture. See the review document and the Exams section below for details. A practice midterm is also available.
- Oct. 12: Lecture notes for the sixth week have been posted. As mentioned in lecture today, the lecture on Friday will be cancelled due to the instructor being away.
- Oct. 7: Lecture notes for the fifth week have been posted.
- Oct. 3: Assignment 2 has been posted. It is due by Oct. 17 at 1:15pm. As mentioned in lecture today, the midterm date has been adjusted. The midterm will be written on Oct. 21 in class.
- Sep. 28: Lecture notes for the fourth week have been posted.
- Sep. 26: Due to the inclement weather over the weekend, the lecture today is cancelled. The deadline for Assignment 1 has been moved to Monday, Oct. 3.
- Sep. 23: Lecture notes for the third week have been posted.
- Sep. 16: Lecture notes for the second week have been posted.
- Sep. 12: Assignment 1 has been posted. It is due by Sep. 26 at 1:15pm.
- Sep. 9: Lecture notes for the first week have been posted.
- Sep. 1: Welcome to the course! The first lecture is on Sep. 7.
|1||Introduction, mathematical preliminaries||Sipser, 0.1–0.2|
|2||Regular languages: finite automata, nondeterminism||Sipser, 1.1–1.2|
|3||Regular languages (cont’d): closure properties, regular expressions||Sipser, 1.3|
|4||Regular languages (cont’d): proving nonregularity||Sipser, 1.4|
|5||Context-free languages: grammars, ambiguity||Sipser, 2.1|
|6||Context-free languages (cont’d): Chomsky normal form||Sipser, 2.1|
|7||Context-free languages (cont’d): PDAs; mid-course review, midterm examination||Sipser, 2.2|
|8||Context-free languages (cont’d): proving non-context-freeness||Sipser, 2.3|
|9||Beyond context-free: Turing machines, variants||Sipser, 3.1–3.2|
|–||Fall study break||–|
|10||Beyond context-free (cont’d): Universal TMs, Church-Turing thesis; Decidability||Sipser, 3.3, 4.1|
|11||Reducibility||Sipser, 5.1, 5.3|
|12||Time complexity: P, NP, NP-completeness||Sipser, 7.1–7.4|
- Assignment 1, due
Sep. 26Oct. 3
- Assignment 2, due Oct. 17
- Assignment 3, due Nov. 21
- Assignment 4, due Dec. 5
Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date. Late assignments will be accepted up to the beginning of the first class following the due date. Late assignments are subject to a penalty of 10% deducted from the earned mark.
Oct. 14 Oct. 21, 2022
Place: J. Bruce Brown Hall, Room 236
Content: All material from Weeks 1 to 6
Taylor J. Smith
Email: tjsmith [at] stfx [dot] ca
Office: Annex, Room 9A
Student hours: Thursday, 9:15am–11:15am