CSI 4336: Introduction to Computation Theory, Fall 2020

Objectives

This course is an introduction to the theory of computation. It covers formal models of computation, computability, complexity, and related topics. This course forms a foundation for much of the subsequent work/research you will do in computer science. As you'll see, computation theory is fascinating because there are problems which we can describe simply 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 pay attention during the lectures, ask questions, and start assignments early.

Practical information

Besides this page, most of the course information is available in Canvas. Please see that site for the course schedule, readings, lectures, assignments, discussions, etc.

We will use the scheduled class meeting times to meet online for (mandatory) question-and-answer sessions. Before each meeting, you should have viewed the lectures for the week, and come prepared to discuss the material, driven by your questions.

My office location and office hours are listed on my home page. I am glad to talk to students during and outside of office hours.

Schedule

Please see Canvas for a schedule of the course.

The final exam date is December 4, 2020 from 09:00 to 11:00.

Textbooks & resources

Required text: we will be using Michael Sipser's textbook Introduction to the Theory of Computation (3rd Edition). Please note: using another edition will probably be fine, but it may have different numbering of problems and exercises. I have seen students lose credit for using "international" versions that are mostly the same, except for the problems and exercises. Make sure you are doing the problems as assigned.

Further online resources:

Grading

Grades will be assigned based on this breakdown:

Final letter grades will be assigned at the discretion of the instructor, but here is a minimum guideline for letter grades:
F < 60 ≤ D- < 62 ≤ D < 67 ≤ D+ < 70 ≤ C- < 72 ≤ C < 78 ≤ C+ < 72 ≤ C < 78 ≤ C+ < 80 ≤ B- < 82 ≤ B < 88 ≤ B+ < 90 ≤ A- < 92 ≤ A

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

Homeworks should be written up in (nice-looking) LaTeX. 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.

Graduate credit

Students receiving graduate credit for this course will be required to complete additional components of several homework assignments. These components will give the advanced student an opportunity to explore topics, to implement algorithms, and to apply techniques that are not normally covered by undergraduates in this course. Scores on these additional components will be included in the homework assignment portion of the grade. Students receiving graduate credit will also have additional exam questions on these advanced topics, and the scores for these extra questions will be included in the examination portion of the grade. The set of topics for graduate credit include:

Policies

Academic honesty

Plagiarism or any form of cheating involves a breach of student-teacher trust. This means that any work submitted under your name is expected to be your own, neither composed by anyone else as a whole or in part, nor handed over to another person for complete or partial revision. Be sure to document all ideas that are not your own. Instances of plagiarism or any other act of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Honor Council and may result in failure of the course. Not understanding plagiarism is not an excuse. I expect you as a Baylor student to be intimately familiar with all aspects of the Honor Code.

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.

Title IX Office

Baylor University does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its education or employment programs and activities, and it does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex or gender. This policy prohibits sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence, and retaliation (collectively referred to as prohibited conduct). For more information on how to report, or to learn more about our policy and process, please visit www.baylor.edu/titleix. You may also contact the Title IX office directly by phone, (254) 710-8454, or email, TitleIX_Coordinator@baylor.edu.


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

This page was last updated August 22, 2020 at 16:14 (America/Chicago)

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