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COMS W3261
Computer Science Theory
Fall 2015
  Class meets 1:10-2:25pm, Mondays and Wednesdays, room TBA.

First lecture is Wednesday, September 9, 2015.
 Teaching Staff
 Name   email   Office hours    Location 
Prof. Al Aho   aho@cs.columbia.edu   Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00-4:00pm   513 CSB
 Course Overview
  In Computer Science Theory you will learn computational thinking and get to know the fundamental models of computation that underlie modern computer hardware, software, and programming languages. You will also discover that there are limits on how quickly computers can solve some problems and that there are some problems that no computer can solve.

The course will cover the important formal languages in the Chomsky hierarchy -- the regular sets, the context-free languages, and the recursively enumerable sets -- as well as the formalisms that generate these languages and the machines that recognize them. The course will introduce the basic concepts of computability and complexity theory by focusing on the question, "What are the fundamental capabilities and limitations of computers?" The course will also introduce the untyped lambda calculus, the model of computation underlying functional programming languages.

The concepts covered in this course will be amply illustrated by applications to current programming languages, algorithms, natural language processing, and hardware and software design.

 Pre- or Corequisites
  COMS W3137 Data Structures and Algorithms
  COMS W3203 Discrete Mathematics
 Schedule 2015
Date  Lecture  Reading 
 Required Text
  John E. Hopcroft, Rajeev Motwani, and Jeffrey D. Ullman
Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation, Third Edition
Pearson/Addison-Wesley, 2007, ISBN 0-321-45536-3
 Additional References
  Michael Sipser
Introduction to the Theory of Computation, Third Edition
Cengage Learning, 2013

  Alfred V. Aho and Jeffrey D. Ullman
Foundations of Computer Science, C Edition
W. H. Freeman, 1995
An online version of this book is available here.
 Class Policies
  Grading 20 % Best four homeworks out of five
40 % Midterm
40 % Final

aho@cs.columbia.edu Updated March 8, 2015