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CS154
Spring 2011
Sec1
Home Page/Syllabus
Formal Languages and Computability
Instructor:
Chris Pollett
Office: MH 214
Phone Number: (408) 924 5145
Email:
chris@pollett.org
Office Hours: MW 3pm5:15pm
Class Meets:
Sec1 MW 1:30pm2:45pm in MH422

To take this class you must have taken:
MATH 42
and
CS46B
with a grade of C or better.
This course covers the basics of finite automata, contextfree languages, Turing machines, computability. Finite automata are used in the lexical analysis part of a compiler, and are also used for string matching, and for simple AIs in video games. Contextfree languages are used for parsing in compilers. XML is a currently trendy language for defining essentially contextfree languages. Computability is the study of what it is possibility to get a computer to do. In computability theory, we use an abstract model of a computer called a Turing Machine and study what it can and cannot do. By the end of this course, you should be able to: (1) Write a grammar for a language described otherwise. (2) Construct deterministic and nondeterministic machines for various languages. (3) Describe a language in terms of a regular expression. (4) Find a regular expression for a language described by a finite automaton and conversely. (5) Construct a deterministic finite automaton from a nondeterministic one. (6) Minimize a deterministic automaton. (7) Be able to use a pumping lemma to show that some languages are not regular and/or not contextfree. Use closure properties to simplify proofs of nonregularity of languages. (8) Be able to construct a pushdown automaton accepting a given language. (9) Construct a Turing machine accepting some simple languages. (10) State in precise mathematical terms what is meant by undecidability of the Halting Problem, and be able to show the undecidability of simple extensions of the Halting Problem, using the reduction technique.
Below is a tentative time table for when we'll do things this quarter:
Week 1:
Jan 24,
Jan 26 (First Day)

Read 0.10.2

Week 2:
Jan 31
, Feb 2

Finish Ch 0

Week 3:
Feb 7 (Drop Day)
, Feb 9

Read 1.11.2

Week 4:
Feb 14
, Feb 16 (HW1 due)

Finish Chapter 1

Week 5:
Feb 21
, Feb 23

Read 2.1

Week 6:
Feb 28
, Mar 2

Read Chapter 2 to PDA Section

Week 7:
Mar 7
, Mar 9

Finish Ch2, Read 3.1

Week 8:
Mar 14 (HW2 due)
, Mar 16

Read Ch 3 to page 152, Review

Week 9:
Mar 21 (Midterm)
, Mar 23

Finish Ch 3

Week 10:
Mar 28
, Mar 30

Spring break

Week 11:
Apr 4
, Apr 6 (HW3 due)

Start Chapter 4

Week 12:
Apr 11
, Apr 13

Finish Ch 4

Week 13:
Apr 18
, Apr 20

Read 5.15.2

Week 14:
Apr 25
, Apr 27

Finish Ch 5

Week 15:
May 2 (HW4 due)
, May 4

Read 6.16.2

Week 16:
May 9
, May 11

Read 6.36.4

Week 17:
May 16 (HW5 due)

Review


The final will be Thursday, May 19 from 12:152:30

HWs and Quizzes 
50%

Midterm 
20%

Final 
30%

Total  100% 
Grades will be calculated in the following manner: The person or persons with the
highest aggregate score
will receive an A+. A score of 55 will be
the cutoff for a C. The region between
this high and low score will be
divided into eight equalsized regions. From the top region to the low region,
a score falling within a region
receives the grade: A, A, B+, B, B, C+, C, C. If the boundary between an
A and an A is 85, then the score
85 counts as an A. Scores below 55 but above 50 receive the grade D.
Those below 50 receive the
grade F.
If you do better than
an A in this class and want me to write you a letter of recommendation, I will generally
be willing provided
you ask me within two years of taking my course.
Be advised that I write better letters if I know you to some degree.
This semester we will have five homeworks and weekly quizzes. Every Monday this semester, except the first day of class, the Midterm Review Day, and Spring Break; there will be a quiz on the previous week's material. The answer to the quiz will either be multiple choice, truefalse, or a simple numeric answer that does not require a calculator. Each quiz is worth a maximum of 1pt. Out of the total of thirteen quizzes this semester, I will keep your ten best scores.
Links to the current list of homeworks and quizzes can be found on the left hand frame of the class homepage. After an assignment has been returned a link to its solution (based on the best student solutions) will be placed off the assignment page. Material from assignments may appear on midterms and
finals. Homeworks for this class will should each be your own individual work.
Homeworks for this class will be submitted and returned completely electronically. To submit an assignment click on the submit homework
link for your section on the left hand side of the homepage and filling out the online
form. Hardcopies or email versions of your assignments will be rejected and not receive
credit. Homeworks will always be due by the start of class on
the day their due. Late homeworks will not be accepted and missed quizzes cannot be made up; however, your lowest score amongst the five homeworks and your quiz total will be dropped.
When doing the programming part of an assignment please make sure to adhere to the
specification given as closely as possible. Names of files should be as given, etc.
Failure to follow the specification may result in your homework not being graded and
you receiving a zero for your work.
The midterms will be during class time on:
Mar 21.
The final will be: Thursday, May 19 from 12:152:30.
All exams are closed book,
closed notes and in this classroom. You will
be allowed only the test and your pen or pencil on your desk during these
exams. The final will
cover material from the whole quarter although there will be an emphasis on
material after the last midterm. No make ups will be given. The final exam
may be scaled to replace a midterm grade if it was missed under provably
legitimate circumstances. These exams will test whether or not you
have mastered the material both presented in
class or assigned as homework during the quarter. My exams usually consist
of a series of essay style questions. I try to avoid
making tricky problems. The week before each exam I will give out a
list of problems representative of the level of difficulty of problems the
student will be expected to answer on the exam. Any disputes concerning
grades on exams should be directed to me, Professor Pollett.
It is often the case that students score below 50% on the midterm and final for this class. For the midterm, I will give you a chance to redeem
half of the points that you miss. To get these points you need to study what you got wrong on the midterm and then come to my office. I will choose
one problem from amongst those you got wrong to ask questions about. My questions may or may not be more involved than the actual
midterm problem. I will also hold you to a stricter standard for your answers. If you answer my questions to my satisfaction, I will give half
of the marks you missed on the midterm back.
If you believe an error was made in the grading of your program or exam, you
may request in person a regrade from me, Professor Pollett,
during my office hours. I do not accept email requests for
regrades.
A request for a regrade must be made no more than a week after the homework or a midterm is
returned. If you cannot find me before the end of the semester and you would like to request a
regrade of your final, you may see me in person at the start of the immediately following
semester.
Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at
San Jose State University, and the University's Academic Integrity
Policy requires you to be honest in all your academic
course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions
to the Office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The policy on
academic integrity can be found at
http://sa.sjsu.edu/student_conduct.
Specifically, for this class, you should obviously not cheat on tests. For homeworks,
you should not discuss or share code or problem solutions between groups!
At a minimum a 0 on the assignment or test will be given. A student
caught using resources like Rentacoder will receive
an F for the course and be referred to University for disciplinary action.
The campus policy to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is:
"If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an
appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 9703 requires that students with disabilities register with DRC to
establish a record of their disability."
More information about SJSU policies and procedures can be found at the following links:
