CSC 4170: Theory of Computation

Fall 2018


Meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Mendel Hall G88, 2:30-3:45 PM (Section 001) and 4:00-5:15 (Section 002)

Homework assignments

Lecture Notes

Course Home Page:

Instructor: Dr. G. Japaridze

"Introduction to the Theory of Computation" (3rd edition) By Michael Sipser. Cengage Learning, 2013. ISBN 978-1-133-18779-0

Description and goals: This course is about what computers can and cannot do. It approaches this question in a strict mathematical fashion. The goal of the course is to expand your mind and give you conceptual tools for solving theoretical and practical problems.

Topics and Schedule (tentative):

  1. Regular Languages (4 weeks)
  2. Context-free Languages (3 weeks)
  3. The Church-Turing Thesis (3 weeks)
  4. Decidability (2 weeks)
  5. Basics of Complexity Theory (2 weeks)

Grading: 50% of your grade will come from the final examination (no midterm), and 50% from quizzes given every other Tuesday at the beginning of class.  However, if your final examination score is higher than your quiz average, your grade will be exclusively based on the examination. A quiz will typically have two questions based on the latest homework assignment. Often, however, questions may be asked that are not exactly on the list of homework problems yet are similar or closely related to the latter; if you have done homework with understanding (as opposed to memorization), answering such questions should not be a problem. The questions on the final examination will be similar, but otherwise the exam is comprehensive (all topics covered during the semester). The following scale will be used when deriving your letter grades from your numeric scores: (A)95+; (A-)90+; (B+)85+; (B)80+; (B-)75+; (C+)70+; (C)65+; (C-)60+; (D+)55+; (D)50+; (D-)45+.

Office of Disabilities and Learning Support Services: It is the policy of Villanova to make reasonable academic accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. You must present verification and register with the Learning Support Office by contacting 610-519-5176 or at or for physical access or temporary  disabling conditions, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 610-519-4095 or email Registration is needed in order to receive accommodations. 


Academic Integrity: All students are expected to uphold Villanova’s Academic Integrity Policy and Code. Any incident of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for disciplinary action. For the College’s statement on Academic Integrity, you should consult the Enchiridion. You may view the university’s Academic Integrity Policy and Code, as well as other useful information related to writing papers, at the Academic Integrity Gateway web site:


Links to related videos:

Alan Turing - BBC Horizon Documentary 48 min.

Proof That Computers Can't Do Everything (The Halting Problem) 8 min.

A beginner’s Guide to Quantum Computing 18 min.

Quantum Computing Explained with a Deck of Cards 16 min.