Computer Science 334
Theory of Computation

Mathematics & Computer Science 334
Theory of Computation
Fall, 2006
Professor: Jessen Havill Phone: 587-6582
Office: Olin 208 E-mail:
Web site:      Mailbox: Olin 201
Office hours: Please see the schedule outside my office.

Required Texts

An Introduction to Formal Languages and Automata, Fourth Edition by Peter Linz
Computers and Intractability: A Guide to the Theory of NP-Completeness by Michael Garey and David Johnson
Turing (A Novel about Computation) by Christos Papadimitriou

Attendance and Other Responsibilities

In order to do well in this class, it is imperative that you take an active role in the learning process. This means reading before class, asking questions, and working the exercises regularly.
Your attendance is expected at each class meeting. It is in your own best interest to attend class, as your grade will almost certainly suffer indirectly if you choose not to attend. In addition, I reserve the right to consider attendance in instances of borderline grade assignments. Of course, excused absences (sickness, family emergencies, varsity athletic participation) will not be held against you. Such absences should be communicated to me in advance.
You are responsible for the content of reading assignments, lectures and handouts, as well as announcements and schedule changes made in class whether or not you are present. If you must miss a class, be sure to check with me or another student to get what you missed. Exams will be given in class on the day scheduled and may not be made up.
It is very important that you keep up with the assigned reading. Read your book on a daily basis. Be especially sure to read the material in the appropriate chapter before coming to class so you will be ready to ask questions. The material in the course is, by necessity, cumulative. Be warned that if you fall behind, you will not be able to catch up easily.

Homework Policies

I will assign regular homework exercises during the semester which will be due in class on the date specified. No late homework assignments will be accepted, unless arrangements have been made with me well in advance. Since it will most likely not be obvious how long an assignment might take, you are well advised to start early. Like other classes at Denison, it is expected that you devote at least 3 hours to these assignments for each hour of class time. Homework assignments must be typed.
You may discuss homework problems with other students in the class, but written (and typed) work must be your own. In other words, you may talk about homework problems with your peers, but when it comes time to write your solutions, you are on your own. You may have general conversations about problem strategies, but you must leave these conversations without having written anything down. Keep in mind that it is quite easy for me to tell when two students have been working too closely. In such cases, I am obliged to report the instance to the Associate Provost.
You may not get help from students outside the class. If you have questions, come see me and I will be happy to help. You are also quite welcome to send me e-mail or call if you would like to discuss an assignment.

Academic Integrity

The students and faculty of Denison University and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science are committed to academic integrity and will not tolerate any violation of this principle. Academic honesty, the cornerstone of teaching and learning, lays the foundation for lifelong integrity.
Academic dishonesty is, in most cases, intellectual theft. It includes, but is not limited to, providing or receiving assistance in a manner not authorized by the instructor in the creation of work to be submitted for evaluation. This standard applies to all work ranging from daily homework assignments to major exams. Students must clearly cite any sources consulted—not only for quoted phrases but also for ideas and information that are not common knowledge. Neither ignorance nor carelessness is an acceptable defense in cases of plagiarism. It is the student’s responsibility to follow the appropriate format for citations.
As is indicated in Denison's Student Handbook, available through, instructors must refer every act of academic dishonesty to the Associate Provost, and violations may result in failure in the course, suspension, or expulsion. (For further information, see


Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately as soon as possible to discuss his or her specific needs. I rely on the Academic Support & Enrichment Center in 104 Doane to verify the need for reasonable accommodations based on documentation on file in that office.

WWW Resources

I will maintain a class web page containing reading assignments, homework assignments, answer keys, and other useful resources. Refer to this page often for updated information. The class home page can be found at:

Grade Determination

The following relative weights will be used to determine your final grade:
Homework Assignments 40%
4 Mid Term Exams 40%
Final Exam 20%


  1. Review of necessary mathematics

  2. Deterministic and nondeterministic finite automata

  3. Regular languages and grammars

  4. Context-free languages and grammars

  5. Pushdown automata

  6. Turing machines

  7. Unsolvable problems

  8. Complexity theory and NP-completeness

Have a great semester! If you need anything, please let me know.