Class time. Mon/Wed 3:30-4:45pm.
First meeting: Wednesday, September 3.
Exam Dates. Midterm: tba. Final: Wed. Dec 17, 4:00-5:50pm.
Office hours. tba.
Mailing list, home page. There will be a class mailing
list. I send homework updates and other useful information to this
Course Goal and Syllabus. The goal of this class is to develop your ability to evaluate and write mathematical claims in computer science, so as to be able to:
Broadly speaking, this course will be studying what can and cannot be computed, and when something can be computed how simply can it be done. The specific topics covered will include proofs techniques, finite automata and regular languages, pushdown automata and context free languages, decidable and undecidable problems, and NP-completeness.
Judge when a problem is solved (and equally important, when it is not yet solved). Explain such mathematical claims clearly and precisely.
Assignments. There will be more or less weekly homeworks.
Late homeworks will not be accepted (except in the event of
illness or other unavoidable circumstances). If for some reason
you will be unable to hand in a homework on time, please discuss
it with me beforehand. While you may discuss homework
problems with your fellow students, you must write up your
solutions in your own words. Be aware that you are unlikely
to perform well on exams unless you gain practice at problem
solving on the homeworks.
Self-grading. On the day the homeworks are due I will be
handing out solution sets. You are required to grade a copy of
your homework using the solution set as a guide and to hand the
graded copy in at the following class session. The self-grading
should indicate the mistakes in the original solution and why they
are mistakes. We will grade your original solution and your
self-grading. The purpose of this is to enhance your
understanding of the material.
To facilitate the management of the homework, I ask that you do
1. Write the solutions leaving space for your grading comments and for our grading comments (e.g. margins on both sides, and top and bottom, and don't use tightly spaced lines).
2. Hand in you solution on Monday at the start of class. Hand in your self-graded solution on Wednesday, again, at the start of class.
3. You may handwrite your homework, legibly of course, or typeset it. The best way to typeset mathematical material is to use Latex.
Academic Integrity. Please take note of the
course and departmental policy on this matter: http://www.cs.nyu.edu/web/Academic/Undergrad/academic_integrity.html
Assessment. Homeworks will comprise 40% of the overall grade, the midterm 20% and the final 40%. However, if the grade on the final is better than the midterm grade it will replace the midterm grade. Exams will be closed book.
Required text. The required text is the book I have been writing and teaching this course from for several years. Links to the chapters are below. I expect to be revising the text this summer, and either the revised text will be available for purchase at the start of the semester, or I will provide it on an ongoing basis over the course of the semester. If you want a published textbook, you might consider: Michael Sipser, Introduction to the Theory of Computation, Thomson. The most recent edition has the advantage of including solutions to a selection of problems. However, let me point out that the approach I will be taking diverges quite a bit from this text. Another possible text is: Daniel I.A. Cohen, Introduction to Computer Theory. This text provides a lot of examples and can be quite helpful. However, it does not cover material for the whole course, and the approach it takes differs even more from the one I will be using in this course.
Basically, you should read my text. We will cover it in full.
Here is a detailed lecture by lecture reading guide (this may get modified as the course proceeds).
Homework Details. You may handwrite your homework, legibly
of course, if you prefer, rather than typeset it. In my
experience, when typesetting, often too much effort is spent on
the appearance of the homework and minor yet significant errors
are overlooked. Also, if your homework solution has multiple
pages, please staple them; please don't fold down the corners or
use paperclips, for the pages are much more likely to come apart.
Finally, if handwriting, please use an easy to read ink color
(blue or black, not red or green).
Homeworks and handouts