Course Syllabus,
CS 5511 Theory of Computation
Spring Semester 2015

Course Data:
Instructor: Doug Dunham
Web Site:
Office:333 Heller Hall
Office Hours: Tu, Th 9:30-11, W 11-1 and by appointment
Lectures: Tu, Th noon to 1:40 p.m. in MWAH 175
Course Web Site:

Teaching Assistant: Subhash Movva
Web Site:
Consulting Hours: Tu, Th 2-3pm in MWAH 177, and Th 11-noon in HH 314

Bulletin Description:
Mathematical theory of computation and complexity. Deterministic and nondeterministic Turing machines, Church-Turing Thesis, recursive and recursively enumerable languages. Undecidable problems, Rice's Theorem. Time and space complexity, reducibility, completeness for complexity classes, Cook's Theorem, P versus NP, Savitch's Theorem, complexity hierarchy.

3512 or #, or the equivalent if you are a transfer student.
Important note: The computer science bachelor's degree program at UMD is accredited by CAC (the Computing Accreditation Commission). One of the CAC requirements is that all students must satisfy the prerequisites in order to be admitted to a course, so if you have not passed the prerequisite courses, you must drop this course (if you have any questions about this, please see the instructor after the lecture or during office hours).

Course Objectives and Content:
This course introduces elements of the theory of computation, an active research area involving the formulation of precise questions and answers concerning what is computable, by what means, and in what amount of space and time. Remarkably, such work does not depend essentially on any particular digital technology or programming language. Instead, computations are expressed and studied as mathematical objects. In this spirit, the course emphasizes standard methods for expressing and establishing mathematically precise claims. We introduce many well-known, widely-studied definitions and carefully consider what follows from them.

The following is a rough outline of the material from the text that I hope to cover in the course. Automata and languages (Part 1), computability theory (Part 2 except for Chapter 6), time complexity (Chapter 7), and if time permits, topics from space complexity (Chapter 8), intractability (Chapter 9), and cryptography (from Chapter 10).

Equal Opportunity:
The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation. As instructor, I am committed to upholding University of Minnesota's equal opportunity policy. I encourage you to talk to me in private about any concerns you have related to equal opportunity in the classroom. To inquire further about the University's policy on equal opportunity, contact the Department of Human Resources & Equal Opportunity 255 DAdB, (, phone: (218) 726-6827, email:

Students with Disabilities:
It is the policy and practice of the University of Minnesota Duluth to create inclusive learning environments for all students, including students with disabilities. If there are aspects of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or your ability to meet course requirements - such as time limited exams, inaccessible web content, or the use of non-captioned videos - please notify the instructor as soon as possible. You are also encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Resources, 258 Kirby Student Center, to discuss and arrange reasonable accommodations. Please call 218-726-6130 or visit the DR website at ( for more information.

Mental Health Statement:
As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. University of Minnesota services are available to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus via the UMD Health Service Counseling website at

Student Academic Integrity Policy Academic dishonesty tarnishes UMD's reputation and discredits the accomplishments of students. UMD is committed to providing students every possible opportunity to grow in mind and spirit. This pledge can only be redeemed in an environment of trust, honesty, and fairness. As a result, academic dishonesty is regarded as a serious offense by all members of the academic community. In keeping with this ideal, this course will adhere to UMD's Student Academic Integrity Policy, which can be found at This policy sanctions students engaging in academic dishonesty with penalties up to and including expulsion from the university for repeat offenders.

Student Conduct The instructor will enforce and students are expected to follow the University's Student Conduct Code ( ). Appropriate classroom conduct promotes an environment of academic achievement and integrity. Disruptive classroom behavior that substantially or repeatedly interrupts either the instructor's ability to teach, or student learning, is prohibited. Disruptive behavior includes inappropriate use of technology in the classroom. Examples include ringing cell phones, text-messaging, watching videos, playing computer games, doing email, or surfing the Internet on your computer instead of note-taking or other instructor-sanctioned activities.


Michael Sipser, Introduction to the Theory of Computation, Third Edition, 2012, Thompson Course Technology, 1-133-18779-X
Web site:

It is not directly required that you attend class, however: You are responsible for reading assigned text material and for material covered in class and in the lab, including:

  1. doing the reading assignments from the text
  2. the material covered in the lectures
  3. obtaining assignments and handouts
  4. turning in assignments

If you are unable to attend a class meeting, it is your responsibility to obtain class notes, assignments, and extra copies of handouts from your study partner. Note: assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date (unless otherwise specified) -- they will be docked 25% per day if turned in late.


The assignments will consist of written homework. The homework should adhere to the Written Homework Format.

Examinations and Grading:

There will be a midterm exam, worth 100 points and a final exam worth 200 points. The final exam will be comprehensive.

Exam Schedule:
ExamPointsDate and Time
Midterm Exam 100 points Thursday, March 12, noon-1:40 pm in MWAH 175
Final Exam 200 points Friday, May 15, 2-3:55 pm in MWAH 175

Exams will not be given early, and makeups must be justified by dire circumstances described to the instructor before the time of the exam. It is Department of Computer Science policy not to return final exams, however they are kept and you can look at your exam in the instructor's office. The UMD Final Examination Policy web page explains the UMD policy about having more than two final exams on a single day, among other things.

Scores and total points will be maintained on eGradebook

Grading Procedures: Final grades are based on total points distributed approximately as follows:

Grades are assigned based on a percentage of the total points. These percentages may be lowered slightly but they will not be raised.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.
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Page Author: Doug Dunham
Last Modified: Thursday, 21-May-2015 11:16:31 CDT
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