CIS 770. Formal Language Theory, Spring 2009
- Classes are MWF, 9:30-10:20am, in N127.
- The Captain's log
gives up-to-date information about
what has been covered so far and what is expected to happen
in the near future.
K-State Online is used
to report grades, and to upload material relevant for the course
(slides, assignments, model solutions, etc.)
The mailing list
for questions and issues of general interest
(note that you cannot mail attachments).
Email: tamtoft hat ksu dot edu
Office: 219C Nichols
Office Hours: 2-3pm, Tue & Thu, and by appointment
Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation,
John E. Hopcroft & Rajeev Motwani & Jeffrey D. Ullman, Addison Wesley,
In principle, students should have taken CIS570
(Introduction to Formal Language Theory), or an equivalent course.
Specifically, students are expected to have the following background:
Experience doing formal reasoning about automata, grammars, and formal
Understanding of basic concepts
of set theory, functions and relations,
and propositional and predicate logic.
Ability to write rigorous proofs,
similar to the proofs in Chapter 1 of the textbook.
To develop understanding of the use and properties of the
common classes of formal languages, grammars, and automata,
To develop mathematical creativity.
To develop mathematical rigor in solving theoretical problems.
The early part of the course will be based on
Chapters 1-4 of the textbook;
much of this material may be review, but it is necessary to
cover it in order that the proper foundations are laid. The core of
the course is taken from Chapters 5-9, with material from
Chapters 10-11 being covered if time permits.
Class participation involves not just being physically present,
but also actively contributing to the learning climate,
by answering questions, doing simple exercises on the board,
asking interesting questions, etc.
Homework: 20 %
Exam 1, March 4: 20 %
Exam 2, April 15: 20 %
Final Exam, May 15: 30 %
Class participation: 10 %
You should expect that it requires
80 % to earn an A,
60 % to earn a B, 40 % to earn a C, and 20 % to earn a D.
In general, my approach to grading is expressed well by
piece by S.A. Miller.
are due almost every week. There are two kinds of homework exercises:
Assignments that are late
will not be graded,
unless in case of documented medical or family emergencies.
Some will be proposed through the
To use that system, you need to get an account which
may have come with your textbook, otherwise you can purchase it
online for $24.
You then sign in to CIS770 using the code provided.
Some are to be handed in on paper,
either to me in class,
or to the homework tray in the CIS office, Nichols 234 (please make
sure to include your name, my name, the course number,
and that they stamp it with not only the date but also
the time of day).
will probably be closed-book. The final is comprehensive,
but with emphasis on the last part of the course.
If you think that the instructor has made an oversight
when grading your test or your homework, you are of course
very welcome to ask for clarification. But complaints about
judgment calls, like how much credit to give for a partially
correct solution, are not encouraged---it is like
arguing balls and strikes. In particular this holds
for homeworks (since each assignment carries so little weight
towards the final grade).
Kansas State University has an
Honor System based on personal
integrity, which is presumed to be sufficient assurance in academic
matters that one's work is performed honestly and without unauthorized
assistance. Undergraduate and graduate students, by registration,
acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Honor System. The policies and
procedures of the Honor System apply to all full and part-time
students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses on-campus,
off-campus, and via distance learning.
A component vital to the Honor System is the inclusion of the Honor
Pledge which applies to all assignments, examinations, or other course
work undertaken by students. The Honor Pledge is implied, whether or
not it is stated: "On my honor, as a student, I have neither given nor
received unauthorized aid on this academic work. "A grade of XF can
result from a breach of academic honesty. The F indicates failure in
the course; the X indicates the reason is an Honor Pledge violation.
You are very welcome to discuss the course material, as well as
specific questions, with your fellow students. However, all submitted
answers must be your own work: you are not allowed to show your
answers to anyone else, or look at the answers of any other student;
neither are you allowed to consult previous model solutions that
may be around, or solicit the Internet for solutions to
specific homework problems.
If you are in doubt about what is permissible, please ask me.
Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
If you have any condition, such as a physical or learning disability,
which will make it difficult for you to carry out the work
or which will require academic
accommodations, please notify me in the first two weeks of
Acknowledgment and Notice of Copyright
Much of the course material, including this syllabus,
is adapted from the
During this course students are prohibited from selling notes to, or
being paid for taking notes by, any person or commercial firm without
the express written permission of the professor teaching this course.