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CS254
Fall 2011
Sec1
Home Page/Syllabus
Theory of Computation
Instructor:
Chris Pollett
Office: MH 214
Phone Number: (408) 924 5145
Email:
chris@pollett.org
Office Hours: M 6:00pm7:30pm, MW 2:55pm4:25pm
Class Meets:
Sec1 MW 4:30pm  5:45pm in MH223

To take this class you must have taken:
CS154
with a grade of C or better.
This course covers the basics of computability and complexity theory. That is, it covers models of computation; decidability; complexity measures i.e., the effects of resources bounds on our models; hierarchies; P, NP and other complexity classes; reductions between problems in a complexity classes; intractable problems and what to do about them. By the end of this course, students should be able to: (1) Exhibit a simulation of one machine model with another. For instance, a Turing machine by a RAM. (2) Give a minimal classification of the complexity of a computational problem as being in one of the class L, NL, P, P/poly, NP, coNP, some level of the polynomial hierarchy, PSPACE, E, EXPTIME, decidable, undecidable. (3) Show the completeness of a complete problem for each of these classes. (4) Know properties of the randomized classes RP, BPP. (5) Know conditions under which various of these hierarchies might collapse. (6) Be able to explain interactive proof characterizations of classes like PSPACE. (7) Explain at least one circuit lower bound technique such as Razborov's techniques for monotone circuits or switching lemma techniques. (8) Exhibit a relativized separation (oracle result) of complexity classes for standard classes such as P and NP.
Below is a tentative time table for when we'll do things this quarter:
Week 1:
Aug 22,
Aug 24 (First Day)

Read Ch 0. Notations, languages, bigoh

Week 2:
Aug 29
, Aug 31

Read Ch 1. TMs, UTMs, Uncomputability

Week 3:
Sep 5(Labor Day)
, Sep 7

Finish Ch 1

Week 4:
Sep 12 (HW1 due)
, Sep 14

Start Ch 2. NP and NPcompleteness.

Week 5:
Sep 19
, Sep 21

More Ch 2

Week 6:
Sep 26
, Sep 28 (HW2 due)

Finish Ch 2

Week 7:
Oct 3 (Midterm 1)
, Oct 5 (Banff)


Week 8:
Oct 10
, Oct 12

Read Ch 3. Diagonalization arguments.

Week 9:
Oct 17
, Oct 19

Read Ch 4. Space complexity.

Week 10:
Oct 24
, Oct 26

Read Ch 5. The Polynomial Hierarchy.

Week 11:
Oct 31 (HW3 due)
, Nov 2

Finish Ch 5.

Week 12:
Nov 7 (Midterm 2)
, Nov 9 (Oberwolfach)


Week 13:
Nov 14
, Nov 16

Read Ch 6. Boolean circuits.

Week 14:
Nov 21
, Nov 23

Read Ch 7. Randomized Computation.

Week 15:
Nov 28
, Nov 30

Read Ch 8. Interactive Proofs

Week 16:
Dec 5
, Dec 7 (HW4 due)

Read Ch 14. Circuit lower bounds


The final will be Wednesday 2:45pm, December 14

HWs and Quizzes 
40%

Midterm 1 
15%

Midterm 2 
15%

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+. Since this is a graduate class, the curve will be slightly
higher than for an undergrad course taught by me. A score of 55 will be
the cutoff for a B. The region between
this high and low score will be
divided into five equalsized regions. From the top region to the low region,
a score falling within a region
receives the grade: A, A, B+, B, B. 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 four homeworks and weekly quizzes. Every Monday this semester, except the first day of class, the Midterm Review Day, and holidays; 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. For homeworks you are encouraged to work in groups of up to three people.
Only one person out of this group needs to submit the homework assignment; however,
the members of the group need to be clearly identified in all submitted files.
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:
Oct 3 and Nov 7.
The final will be: Wednesday 2:45pm, December 14.
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.
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:
