COMPSCI 501: Spring 2024

Syllabus and Course Schedule

Prof. David Mix Barrington

Reading assignments are from Sipser, An Introduction to the Theory of Computation, third (or second) edition, available through the university's eCampus entity and elsewhere.

Class meetings are MW 5:30-6:45 in room S131 ILC, unless there are future changes due to COVID. (We would likely have synchronous meetings at those times in that case.)

The Spring 2021 lectures are asynchronous and will be on Echo360. There are five lectures for each week of classes, and the chapter and section numbers from Sipser are given for each week below.

On most Monday class sessions there will be synchronous in-class discussions, where students will be presented with a problem and solve in in groups using breakout rooms. Attendance is required -- if you cannot make a meeting for good reasons, apply for an excused absence on the Moodle site.

The remaining class sessions will be "semi-lectures" and attendance will not be graded. They will be recorded on Echo360.

There will be one midterm exam, during class time on Monday 10 April, with a review session during the previous semi-lecture. There will be a final exam scheduled by the University during finals period.

PART I: Regular, Context-Free and Computable Languages

Week 1 Video Lectures: Basics, Induction, Regular Expressions (0, 1.3)
    Mon 05 Feb Semi-Lecture 1
    Wed 07 Feb Semi-Lecture 2 (UGRAD ADD/DROP)

Week 2 Video Lectures: Finite Automata, Kleene, Myhill-Nerode (1)
    Mon 12 Feb Feb Semi-Lecture 3 
    Wed 14 Feb Discussion #1  (GRAD ADD/DROP)

Week 3 Video Lectures: Context-Free Languages (2.1-2.3)
    Mon 19 Feb NO CLASS (Presidents' Day holiday)
    Wed 21 Feb Semi-Lecture 4 
    Thu 22 Feb Discussion #2 (MONDAY SCHEDULE)
    Fri 23 Feb HW#1 due at 11:59 p.m. 
    Sat 24 Feb Late deadline for HW#1 at 11:59 p.m. 

Week 4 Video Lectures: Turing Machines, CT Thesis (3)
    Mon 26 Feb Semi-Lecture 5
    Wed 28 Feb Discussion #3

Week 5 Video Lectures: Decidability (4)
    Mon 04 Mar Semi-Lecture 6
    Wed 06 Mar Discussion #4
    Fri 08 Mar HW#2 due at 11:59 p.m. 
    Sat 09 Mar Late deadline for HW#2 at 11:59 p.m. 

Week 6 Video Lectures: Reducibility (5)
    Mon 11 Mar Semi-Lecture 7
    Wed 13 Mar Discussion #5


Week 7 Video Lectures: Recursion Theorem, Kolmogorov (6.1, 6.4)
    Mon 25 Mar Semi-Lecture 8
    Wed 27 Mar Discussion #6
    Fri 29 Mar HW#3 due at 11:59 p.m. 
    Sat 30 Mar Late deadline for HW#3 at 11:59 p.m. 

Week 8 Review and MIDTERM on Ch. 1-6
    Mon 01 Apr Review Session
    Wed 03 Apr MIDTERM EXAM, ILC 131, on Chapters 1-6 (Weeks 1-7)

PART II: Complexity Theory

Week 9 Video Lectures: Time Complexity, P and NP (7.1-7.3)
    Mon 08 Apr Semi-Lecture 9
    Wed 10 Apr Discussion #7
    Fri 12 Apr HW#4 due at 11:59 p.m. 
    Sat 13 Apr Late deadline for HW#4 at 11:59 p.m. 

Week 10 Video Lectures: NP Completeness (7.4, 7.5)
    Fri 12 Apr Semi-Lecture 10 (MONDAY SCHEDULE)
    Mon 15 Apr NO CLASS (Patriots' Day holiday) 
    Wed 17 Apr Discussion #8
Week 11 Video Lectures: Space Complexity (8.1-8.3) 
    Mon 22 Apr Semi-Lecture 11
    Fri 26 Apr HW#5 due at 11:59 p.m. 
    Sat 27 Apr Late deadline for HW#5 at 11:59 p.m. 

Week 12 Video Lectures: Logspace Complexity (8.4-8.6)
    Wed 24 Apr Semi-Lecture 12 
    Mon 29 Apr Discussion #9

Week 13 Video Lectures: Circuit Complexity and the NC Classes
    Wed 01 May Semi-Lecture 13 
    Mon 06 May Discussion #10
    Wed 08 May Review Session
    Fri 10 May HW#6 due at 11:59 p.m. 
    Sat 11 May Late deadline for HW#6 at 11:59 p.m. 

FINAL EXAM (cumulative): Wed 15 May, 6:00-8:00 p.m., ILC S131

Last modified 5 February 2024