COMP 454 – Automata, Languages and Computation – Fall 2023

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  • Instructor: Michael Soltys <>
  • Course Outline: This course is an introduction to the theory of computation, from the point of view of languages over finite alphabets. We are going to start with Regular Languages, and the equivalence of several definitions: Finite Automata (deterministic and non-deterministic) and Regular Expressions (and applications to text search). The Pumping Lemma, and other approaches to showing that languages are not regular. We will continue with Context-free languages, and again the equivalence of several definitions: Context-free grammars and Push-Down Automata. We will finish with a version of the Pumping Lemma for Context-free languages. The final topic will be the Church-Turing thesis, and decidability.
  • Lectures: W 7:00-8:00 online
  • Textbook: Introduction to the Analysis of Algorithms (Chapter 8), by Michael Soltys
  • Grading: 10 quizzes, worth 5% each, and 4 assignments, worth 5% each, and two midterms and a final exam worth 10% each.
  • How to avoid plagiarism: Verbal discussions of problems among students are allowed, but you should not show written notes, and you should not leave such discussions with written notes.
  • Attendance: Students are encouraged but not required to attend the lectures. All quizzes, midterms and the final will be written online.
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Course outline

– Course IntroductionAug 23
– DFA8.3.1Aug 30
– Quiz 1 (Properties of DFAs)
8.3.2Sep 6
– Regular Expressions
– Quiz 2 (Properties of NFAs)
8.3.3Sep 13
– Properties of Regular Languages
– Quiz 3 (Regular Expressions)
– Assignment 1 (DFA)
8.3.4-5Sep 20
– Quiz 4 (Properties of Regular Languages)
8.4.1Sep 27
Midterm 1 – Regular LanguagesOct 4
– Quiz 5 (Context Free Grammars)
– Assignment 2 (NFA)
8.4.2Oct 11
– CFG and PDA
– Quiz 6 (Push Down Automata PDAs)
8.4.2Oct 18
– Turing Machines
– Quiz 7 (PDAs and CFGs)
– Assignment 3 (NFAe)
8.5.1Oct 25
Midterm 2 – Context Free LanguagesNov 1
– Decidable Languages
– Quiz 8 (Turing Machines)
8.5.2-3Nov 8
– Undecidable Languages
– Quiz 9 (Decidable Languages)
8.5.4-5Nov 15
– Course Review
– Quiz 10 (Undecidable Languages)
– Assignment 4 (PDA)
Nov 22
Final ExamNov 29

Students with disabilities: Cal State Channel Islands is committed to equal educational opportunities for qualified students with disabilities in compliance with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The mission of Disability Accommodation Services is to assist students with disabilities to realize their academic and personal potential. Students with physical, learning, or other disabilities are encouraged to contact the Disability Accommodation Services office at (805) 437-8510 for personal assistance and accommodations. Please discuss your arrangements with the instructor as soon as possible.