James A. Foster

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CS 590 Theory of Computation: Spring 1997

Computer Science Home Page Univ. of Idaho Home Page

Instructor: Dr. James A. Foster

This course covers the fundamentals of recursive function theory and the theory of computational complexity. That is, we examine the inherent limitations of computation, both theoretical and practical, in some detail. We also discuss recent topics in theoretical computer science.

For more details, see the course syllabus (also available in postscript).

This document contains:
bullet Announcements
bullet General information
bullet Homework (usually with solutions)
bullet Tests (with solutions once you've taken them)
bullet Relevant newsgroups
bullet Course FTP Site
bullet Students in the course


Here are the slides from my quantum computing lecture slides (sorry, postscript only).

Here are the slides from my DNA computing lecture slides (sorry, postscript only).

I have written up some more examples of how to use the Rice-Shapiro theorem to prove a set non-r.e. I have mailed the video students physical copies. These notes are available in postscript form, too.

Jackie Shoaf found a really cool link about Ackerman's function. Check it out!

Just for grins, I implemented the "big squish", gamma, and gamma-inverse in perl and put them on the webpage. Recall that these are the functions to encode a vector of naturals as a natural, encode a URM program as a natural, and decode a natural into a URM program. Also, I used the squish function < x,y > = Sumi=1x+y+x. Error checking is very, very minimal in this code, and I don't pretend that it's pretty! But it was interesting.

Many of you are taking this course on videotape from Engineering Video Outreach. You will definitely want to check this webpage frequently for changes. Remember, the on-campus class is about a week and a half ahead of you, so information will show up here before anything gets to you in the mail. Also, you will often find relevant materials on the course ftp site. Please use the course newsgroup when possible, so that other students can benefit from your questions and answers. Also, the instructor is easiest to ready by email.

General Information

bullet Instructor: James A. Foster
Office JEB B24
Phone 208-885-7062
Fax 208-885-7062
Office Hours 4:30-5:20 WF, 1:30-3:20 Th
Email foster@cs.uidaho.edu
bullet Texts
bullet Computational Complexity, Bovet and Crescenzi. Prentice Hall, 1994.
bullet Computability: An Introduction to Recursive Function Theory, Cutland. Cambridge, 1980.
bullet Objectives
bullet To be able to describe two mathematical models of computation: URM and TM
bullet To derive some properties of computation from these models (such as inherent limitations)
bullet To be able to characterize computational feasibility and infeasibility
bullet To understand some current research topics in theoretical CS
bullet Activities: Lectures, three tests, several (up to 8) homework assignments, discussions.
bullet Grading: Grades will be determined by scores on two examinations (50% from each). There will be an opportunity to take an optional examination as a substitute for either examination. The tests are there for you to convince me you know the material. Homework will not be graded, but I will keep a record of who makes an honest effort to do it and will use this to help convince me to how to decide borderline grades.


Assignment Due Date Solutions
On Campus Lecture Number postscript html
One 3 Feb 5 here here
Two 17 Feb here here
Three March 3 19 here here
Four March 12 22 here here
Five 7 April 30 here here
Six 28 April 40 here here

I will check your homework to be sure that you are making a good-faith effort, but will not grade it---hence, it does not contribute to your grade. You will understand the material best if you do the homework.

I will provide solutions to all homework problems.

See the course notes from last year for the homework last year.


Tests for this year

Test Statistics Answers
Midterm Here Here

Sample Tests from Previous Years

bullet 1993 Midterm
bullet 1993 Final
bullet Sample test questions for the 1994 Midterm
bullet 1994 Midterm
bullet 1994 Final
bullet 1995 Midterm
bullet 1995 Final

There will be two optional final examinations. I will substitute your grade for an optional examination for the corresponding earlier exam, if you tell me to. Here is the cover sheet which I will include with the optional finals, which explains the details (in postscript).

Relevant Newsgroups

bullet uidaho.cs.theory for discussion of theoretical CS at UI
bullet comp.theory for discussion of theoretical CS world-wide
bullet sci.logic for discussions about logic and computing

Last Updated 05/30/2003 09:06 -0700