Class 8: Non-Context-Free Languages

Class 8 slides: [PPTX] [PDF]

Problem Set 3

Problem Set 3 is now posted: [PDF] [LaTeX template]

Problem Set 3 is due next Tuesday, 23 February at the beginning of class. Note that you only have one week for PS3 (but it is somewhat shorter than PS2).

Preparing for Exam 1

Exam 1 will be in class on Tuesday, 2 March. It will cover material from Problem Set 1-3, Sipser Chapters 0-2, and Classes 1-9 (through 23 February). For this exam, each student will be permitted to bring one standard-size (8.5×11″) page of notes to use during the exam, but will not be permitted to use any other resources. You may use both sides of the page and generate your notes in any way you choose, but should [More...]

Non-Recursive Human Languages?

Daniel raised the question last class about whether there is a non-recursive human language. Although I felt quite confident in class that such a thing could not exist, there have been some controversial claims about the existence of a non-recursive human language. The language in question is known as Pirahã, spoken by a remote tribe in the Brazillian Amazon. Dan Everett, now a professor of Linguistics at Illinois State University, studied the Pirahã language [More...]

Class 7: Context-Free Languages

Class 7 slides: [PPTX] [PDF]

(My tablet has a bad habit of crashing between the classroom and my office, so I lost the ink for this class. I’ve tried to recreate the most important ink on the slides.)

Survey Responses

Here are results from the Quick Surveys submitted so far (I will leave the survey open, so you can submit at any time).

24 surveys were submitted.

That’s a pretty dismal response rate! The survey was very short and simple to submit, but barely 1/3 of the class did so. Perhaps only people who are unhappy with the class filled in the survey and the majority are perfectly happy with how everything is going. If that’s [More...]

Class 6: Deterministic Pushdown Automata

Class 6 slides: [PDF] [PPTX]

Notes on PDAs

Quick Survey

Please give me some quick feedback on how the course is going so far by submitting this survey. (The survey is anonymous, you don’t need to be logged in to submit it.)

Friday Office Hours

Sonali has offered to hold office hours Friday mornings starting this Friday. They will be Fridays, 10-11:30am in Thorton Stacks. This is in addition to my regularly scheduled Monday (1:15-3pm) and Thursday (after class-4:30pm) office hours.

Class 5: Non-Regular Languages

Here are the notes on regular languages.

Class 5 slides: [PPTX] [PDF]

Problem Set 1 Comments

Here are the Comments on Problem Set 1.

The average score for PS1 is 60 (full-credit answers for all non-bonus questions would be worth 78 total points). By question, the averages were:

1a 1.96/2
1b 1.98/2
1c 1.95/2
1d [More...]

Problem Set 2

Problem Set 2 is now posted: [PDF] [LaTeX template]. It is due on Tuesday, 16 February.

PS2 covers NFAs (questions 1-3), regular and non-regular languages (questions 4-7), and push-down automata and grammars (questions 8-10). We’ve covered everything for questions 1-3 in class already, will cover what is used for questions 4-7 in tomorrow’ class (Class 5), and will introduce PDAs and grammars next week. Please use the comments on this post to ask questions about PS2.

Class 4: Nondeterminism

Class 4 slides: [PPTX] [PDF]

Class 3: Historical Perspectives [Gabe Robins]

Here are the slides from Gabe Robins’ guest lecture on [PPTS (212MB download, but well worth the wait!)].

Using LaTeX

This page provides some information on using LaTeX for cs3102. If you have questions, or find any useful resources, please post them in the comments on this post.

Class 2: Problems and Finite Automata

Class 2: DFA Notes, Slides: [PPTX, PDF]

Thursday’s class will be a guest lecture by Gabe Robins. Thursday’s office hours will be held by Sonail in the Stacks after class (3:15-4:30).

Survey Responses

Here are my responses to the questions you asked in your submitted registration surveys. (If you think of more questions later, feel free to add them as comments to this post.)

I’m really interested in security although I have very little knowledge of it. Are there any opportunities for me to learn more?

Great! There are lots of opportunities to learn about security or get involved in security research at UVa.

You may be interested in joining the “Security Reading Group”. [More...]

Class 1: Theory and Practice, Definitions, Proofs

The slides from class 1 are posted here: [PDF] [PPTX].

Problem Set 1

Problem Set 1 [PDF] is now posted, and is due at the beginning of class (2:00pm) on Tuesday, 2 February. The LaTeX template for PS1 is here: ps1-template.tex. [Note: Problem 4 has been removed from PS1, see comment below for details.]

Registering for cs3102

Please register for the course blog (you can use a pseudonym if you want), and complete the course registration survey (you must be logged into the blog to do the survey, so register and login first). The survey should be submitted no later than Sunday, January 24.


Welcome to cs3102: Theory of Computation (the course previously known as “cs302: Discrete Mathematics”).

Classes start next week. cs3102 meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3:15pm in Olsson 120.

The textbook for this course is:

Michael Sipser, Introduction to the Theory of Computation (Second Edition). [Amazon]