CSC 4170: Theory of Computation

Fall 2015


Meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00-5:15 PM, Mendel G86

Homework assignments

Lecture Notes

Course Home Page:

Instructor: Dr. M.A. Papalaskari

Teaching Assistant:  Jeff Linahan

"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: Your grade will be based on the quizzes. They will be given every Thursday.  Missed quizzes cannot be made up. One quiz with the lowest grade, however, will be automatically dropped. A quiz will typically have two questions: one from the latest two homework assignments, and one from some earlier homework assignment.

Grade scale:     A 90    A- 85    B+ 80    B 75    B- 70    C+ 65    C 60    C- 55    D+ 50    D 45    D- 40

•    Office of Disabilities and Learning Support Services:

Students with disabilities who require reasonable academic accommodations should schedule an appointment to discuss specifics with me. 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 result in an “F” for the assignment and will be reported to the appropriate university officials, per regulations in the Graduate Studies (Liberal Arts and Sciences) Catalog.  You can view the Academic Integrity Policy and Code, as well as other useful information related to writing papers, at the Academic Integrity Gateway web site.