COS 550: Theoretical Computer Science I

Sudarshan S. Chawathe
University of Maine

Spring 2018, preliminary version

This course is a graduate-level introduction to the theory of computation that does not assume prior coursework on the topic. The course catalog says, rather tersely: “A survey of automata theory, formal languages, undecidability and computational complexity.” The description of the associated COS 451 provides more details: Some big questions: What is a computer? How may we model computers and computation? What are the theoretical and practical limits of computation? What do we know about what can, and cannot, and may or may not be computable and efficiently computable? Some more details, from the course catalog: Fundamentals of formal languages and the mathematical theory of computation; finite-state automata, nondeterminism, regular expressions, and Kleenes Theorem; context-free grammars, pushdown automata, the correspondence theorem and the pumping lemma; computability, Turing machines, and the halting problem. Students in COS 550 study the topics in greater depth and breadth than those in COS 451, cover additional readings, and answer additional questions on homeworks, exams, etc. As well, all their work, including that shared with COS 451 is evaluated to a graduate standard.

Prerequisites: COS 301 and COS 250.

Since this is a graduate course, let’s keep the rest of this syllabus brief:

News and Reminders: