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Foundations of Computer Science 2


Admission Requirements

Foundations of Computer Science 1


Automata theory and formal languages form the foundations of theoretical computer science, as they allow us to talk precisely about what is an algorithm or a computation.

An automaton is in fact a model of computation that can be defined mathematically. The simplest model that we will consider in this course is given by finite state automaton: a machine that is only able to keep track of its current state but it has no memory. Finite state automata specify an algorithmic procedure for recognizing whether a word is in a language. We will concentrate on the relationships between language recognized by a finite state automaton, language generated by a grammar and language described by a specification, and will obtain algorithms for translating one description of a language into another description of a different type.

Adding restricted form of memory to finite state automata increase their expressivity. We will study push-down automata, i.e. the class of automata with an auxiliary memory organized as a stack. In particular we will concentrate on the class of languages recognized by push-down automata, because of its major role in compiler design and parsing.

Course Objectives

The course gives an introduction is an introduction to the theory of computation with emphasis on the relationships between formal languages, automata and abstract models of computation.

Time Table

Het meest recente rooster is te vinden op de LIACS website

Mode of Instruction

hoorcollege, weekly practice class (which is a mandatory component of the course)

Assessment Method

Students will be evaluated by means of a written exam.

Reading List

  • John C. Martin, Introduction to Languages and the Theory of Computation, 3rd edition, McGraw Hill, 2003

  • Solutions selected exercises will be provided to the students for download


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Contact information

Onderwijscoördinator Informatica, Riet Derogee


Fundamentele Informatica 2