CS 383 Overview
Fall 2007

What is Theory of Computation About, Anyway?

This course is about the fundamentals of computer science -- how do we model computation? how do different models differ in power? where did computers come from? is there a limit to what computers can do? In addition, we will explore the link between computation and art, music, biology, natural language processing, math, and anything else I can come up with in the coming weeks.

By the end of this course the student will have a sense of the history of computer science, will understand the strengths and weaknesses of different computation models, and will be master of induction and math proofs.



Course Materials?

We are using Dexter Kozen's Automata and Computability textbook, published by Springer. We will follow the text fairly closely for the first three-quarters of the semester, and then will branch out on our own.




Course Requirements

This course requires a lot from you, but it will be worth it! There will be 10-12 assignments, three midterm exams, a final exam, and pop quizzes. But what I'm most excited about is that you will all get a chance to co-teach some lectures! I will grade the assignments, exams, and quizzes, but your lectures will be evaluated only by your peers (I think). This is an experiment on my part, and I hope that it works for both you and me. In any case, your grade will consist of the following.

Assignments 50%
Midterms 21%
Final 9%
Lecture 5%
Attendance, Participation, & Quizzes 10%

Please go here for my policy on late assignments.




Attendance is mandatory! I struggled with this, and maybe I'll change my mind by next semester... but for now, attendance is mandatory. In a small class, it is important to have as many people present in order to facilitate discussions. Besides, I have stuff I want to tell you. You may miss up to 2 lectures without reason. For subsequent absences, please send me an email in advance and I will evaluate the merit of your absence on a case-by-case basis. I'm reasonable, but I also want you in class.




Honor Code

I take the honor code very seriously, and will report any violations to the Student Honor Code Committee.

This is a class where working with your peers is not only allowed, it is encouraged. However, the assignments you hand in must be written up by yourself and represent your own thoughts and work. In particular, you may discuss ideas with your classmates, but do not write anything down. If you really understand the discussion, you should be able to reconstruct it on your own. You may not use the internet or other references other than the textbook, unless explicitly directed to do so.

If you do work with a friend or friends, please write your cohorts names on the top of your assignment. This is important, and I think no less of you if you work with your classmates (please, do!).

Separate rules will apply to your exams, which will be explained at the appropriate time.

Finally, you must write the honor code on every assignment, quiz, and exam along with your signature. You know the drill by now. For the record, the honor code is

"I affirm that I have adhered to the Honor Code in this assignment."

If you submit your assignment electronically (with LaTeX) you must type this out with your name somewhere on your assignment.



Student Disabilities

If you require special accomodation (such as additional time to complete exams), please speak to me during the first week of class so that she has time to make suitable arrangements. You must be registered with Laura Slocum Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities.