CMPSCI 601: Theory of Computation
Offered through the PEEAS distance learning program
David Mix Barrington
This is the home page for the fall 2003 offering of CMPSCI 601.
CMPSCI 601 is the graduate core course in
the theory of computation and will deal with formal
languages, computability, logic, and complexity theory.
This course is being offered only through distance learning by
the UMass PEEAS program.
Please contact them for any information concerning registration.
Students in the course will be mailed videotapes of the lectures
I gave in the Spring 2003 offering of this
course. Extensive notes for these
lectures are available on the Spring 2003 website. This course was
also given by distance learning in summer 2003
and students here may benefit from the problems and solutions posted on
the web site for that course. This version of the course will have new
homework problems and exam questions.
There will be seven
homework assignments, a midterm exam, and
a final exam which will determine the grade (35% for best six of seven
HW's, 25% midterm, 40% final). See the directory
pages linked above for scheduling information.
Announcements (11 December 2003):
- I've now posted the HW#7 assignment.
- I will try to give the final exam to PEEAS for mailing out to you
tomorrow. Please email me and let me know when you would like to take
the final (I have heard from two of you already about the 19th.)
- One question on HW#6 refers to the complexity class "TC0".
By this I mean the class called "ThC0" in the lecture notes --
languages decided by families of threshold circuits of O(1) depth
and polynomial size.
- I've decided that HW#7 will be optional and about the same
size as HW#6. "Optional" means that I will calculate your HW average with
and without it, and use the higher figure.
- I have now posted reasonably complete
solutions for HW#5,
and the long-delayed solutions for HW#3.
- At least two students would really like to have the course done
with by 19 December, and I'm willing to accomodate that as it's a perfectly
reasonable request. In fact I'm
fairly flexible, except that I'll be away myself 23-27 December. The final
wouldn't touch on the last four lectures anyway. Maybe the thing to do is
to make HW#7 optional for those who want to boost their homework grade?
- I have posted a half-size HW#6 assignment,
due next Wednesday. I plan to have HW#7 due on Wed 17 Dec, with the final
exam to be taken during the following week.
- The midterm and its
solution are now posted.
- I've now graded the midterms and am in the middle of emailing
individual results. They were actually pretty good --scores in
order were 71, 70, 60, 59, 58, 41, and 29. The first two of these
are low AB's and the next three are B's. I've also posted the
assignment for HW#5, which will be due Wed 5 Dec.
- Sorry I've been delinquent in posting here. It's now time for the
midterm. I gave PEEAS the exam yesterday and they should have gone out
to your proctors today, to arrive sometime between Monday and Wednesday
depending on the Veteran's Day holiday. You should take the exam
sometime next week (before the end of Friday) and have your proctor fax
me your answers. The exam is very similar to the practice and real
midterms from the spring version of the course and
the midterm from the summer version. You will
have two hours for the exam and it is closed-book. Please don't communicate
with other students in the course after you take the exam, until
Friday when everyone will have taken it.
- I've now posted the assignment for HW#4. This
consists of twenty questions from the Language, Proof, and Logic
text, to be submitted electronically. It is due Wed 5 November. The target
time for the midterm is Mon 10 November or Tue 11 November (the former is
a holiday in many places).
- I've received and answered a number of questions
on HW#3 and also fixed a couple more typos.
- A student has pointed out a typo in Problem #1 of
HW#3, and I've now corrected it.
- I've graded the HW#1's and HW#2's, and am emailing individual grade
reports to each student as I get the chance. I'll post aggregate statistics
when I'm done with that.
- One student has asked me for an extension on HW#3 til Monday. As I'm
not going to get to grading them over the weekend, I'm going to give
everyone an extension until Monday 20 October at 2:00 p.m. Eastern
time. I hope to post the HW#4 assignment, which will be from [BE],
by tomorrow. You should register your software following the instructions
in [BE] to make sure there are no problems.
- The HW#2 solutions are posted, except for
the last question about a computable total order with a non-computable
successor relation. Grading isn't ready yet, sorry.
- I've just posted the HW#3 assignment. I hope
to have HW#1 and HW#2 graded in the next day or two. The HW#4 assignment
will be from the [BE] book, you may want to start looking at that. (I will
post it before HW#3 is due.) I may go with only seven total HW's instead
of eight. We also need to have a midterm, which will be sometime soon after
HW#3 is due.
- There are now some questions and answers on HW#2.
- I have just posted solutions to HW#1.
- I have posted the HW#2 assignment, due a week
- There are now several student questions
on HW#1, together with my answers.
- Another HW#1 error -- it is due on Wed 24 September, not the
nonexistent "Wed 27 Septemeber".
- I just corrected an error in the statement of Question 1 on
if you downloaded it before the morning of Fri 12 September, make sure you
get this correction.
- The PEEAS office will soon email all the students in the course with
details on how (at each student's discretion) you may exchange contact
information with other students in the course. I encourage you to do this --
I've observed in the on-campus version of the course how much learning
takes place in the interaction among the students. Remember, of course,
that you are responsible that the work you submit is your own work in
presentation -- see the honesty policy on the
homework directory page for details.
- I have now posted the first homework assignment.
It covers lectures 1-4 and is due on
Wed 24 September. I will try to post
future assignments farther in advance, to allow students to manage their
time better. (Due date corrected 12 September.)
- The tape shipping schedule is now posted.
Textbooks: First see the textbook notes on the
spring 2003 page. It turned out that while
the notation of the lecture notes is that of [P], we didn't use [P]
all that much and you may or may not want it as a required text. If
I assign any homework problems out of [P] I will give their text in full on the
The Sipser book may or may not be useful to you -- it is a very readable
treatment of some of the course material.
We will use the LPL book as we did in Spring 2003.
I welcome email questions on the
lectures, the homeworks, or any other topics. I will post interesting
questions and their answers linked from this page,
without identifying the
questioner. You may be interested as well in the
questions and answers from Spring 2003.
Last modified 11 December 2003