CPSC 421/501 Page, Fall 2014

This page concerns CPSC 421 Section 101 and CPSC 501 Section 101. The courses have been combined, except that CPSC 501 will have an additional essay to write.

This page has the most up-to-date information on the course(s) and supersedes any other document. Not all course material are available at all times (especially solution sets to homeworks).

Overview Overview for this course. The main text for this course is Theory of Computation, by Michael Sipser, 3rd Edition. We shall begin the course with a handout Computability and Self-Referencing in CPSC421; this is a more general (and leisurely) treatment of Section 4.2 of Sipser's textbook, that doesn't require knowing how a Turing machine works. We will then cover Turning machines, parts of Chapters 3-7; regular languages (Chapter 1) and context-free languages (Chapter 2) will be covered briefly towards the end of the course.
Midterm The midterm will be held on Friday, October 17, covering material up to and including October 3. Location TBA.
Handout We begin the course by talking about the Halting problem and related ``paradoxes'' with the handout Computability and Self-Referencing in CPSC421 (last modified August 18, 2014); these notes will be modified, and have material added to them (especially exercises). This material will be reviewed again later in the course (see Chapters 4 and 5 of Sipser's text).
Blog I will write a blog to say roughly what we are covering when and to make some additional remarks regarding class material. This blog is usually quite skeletal, and will be modified throughout the term.
Homework All homework involving the text is based on the 3rd edition of Sipser's book.
Homework #1, due September 15: Problems 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.1.4, 7.1.9(3) of the handout.
Homework #2, due September 22:
Office Hours Joel Friedman (Instructor): by appointment, unless posted otherwise.
Essay Students in CPSC 501 have an essay due on the last day of class. Choose any topic that goes beyond something done in this course, but please get my approval. The following topics are fine: (1) Fuller discussion of some of the paradoxes mentioned in the handout, including: Godel's incompleteness theorems and Russell's paradox; (2) Discussion of a number of different types of problems (including some that may arise in practice?) known to be undecidable or unacceptable (unrecognizable); (3) Methods of showing that a language is not recognizable (how many different methods are known, for example?); (4) Discuss the Chomsky Hierarchy (e.g., explain why Type-0 grammars yield precisely all Turing-recognizable languages, what Type-1 grammars (context sensitive) give) (see the wikipedia page);
Other News No news is good news.

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