California State University Stanislaus

CS 4410: Automata, Computability, and Formal Languages

Fall 2016

MWF 11:10 am - 12:00 am, P 114,  Dr. Melanie Martin

[Basic Information]         [Announcements]         [Calendar/Assignments]       [Homework]       

Welcome to CS 4410, Automata, Computability, and Formal Languages

Course Description

University Catalog: Finite state concepts; sequential machines and state minimization; Chomsky grammar; algorithms on grammars; computability and Turing machines; non-computable functions.

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the basic concepts in the theory of computation. Using precise mathematical reasoning we seek to understand what can be computed and with what degree of difficulty. This will lead us to identify classes of problems that can be addressed using general algorithmic approaches, which has practical applications (for example in programming languages and compiler construction). We will also study the representations for languages and their correspondence to machines.

By the end of the course, a student will be able to:

Announcements and Upcoming Events


Welcome to CS 4410!     

Fall 2016 Exam Week Office Hours:
Tuesday          9:30 am to 11:00 am    DBH 278
Wednesday      12:30 pm to 2:30 pm    DBH 278
Thursday      12:30 pm to 2:30 pm    Naraghi 375
Friday          1:30 pm to 3:00 pm    Naraghi 375
and by Appointment (email:

Basic Information

Textbook is: An Introduction to Formal Languages and Automata, 6th Edition by Peter Linz

Instructor: Dr. Melanie Martin                           Office: Demergasso-Bava Hall 278
                                                                                          Naraghi 375

Email:                               Office Phone: (209) 667-3787 or (209) 667-3269

Web Page:

Office Hours:                       

Monday       2-3 pm in DBH 278
Tuesday       4-5 pm in Naraghi 375
Wednesday  2-3:30 pm in DBH 278
Thursday     1-3 pm in Naraghi 375
and by appointment.
Best way to contact Dr. Martin:
  Email  Please put "CS4410" in the subject line of the email.

Prerequisite: CS 4100 - please see me if you do not meet the prerequisite - CS 3100 and Math 2300 provide the crucial background to succeed in this course

Warning: I reserve the right to make changes to the syllabus at any time during the term by announcing them in class and on my web page.

Grading and Policies

Final grades will be based on homework, quizzes, and exams. A plus and minus grading scale will be used to assign final grades.

Homework and Quizzes:  In order to understand the topics and concepts we are discussing in class, it is necessary to practice. We will use a combination of homework and quizzes to make sure that everyone is keeping up and understanding the material. We will discuss problems in class after the homework is turned in, so homework will need to be turned in on time. At least some of the quiz and exam questions will be based on the homework, so it is important to be in class when we discuss it.

Submission of Homework: All homework (unless otherwise stated) are to be turned as follows:
A hard copy is to be turned in at the beginning of class on the due date.

If an assignment is to be turned in electronically, please upload to the CSHomework System (

Exams: There will be two exams given during the course of the semester, approximately in the sixth of the semester and at the scheduled final exam time. The exact time of the first exam will be announced at least a week in advance of the exam. Each exam will account for 30% of your final grade.

Grade Summary:
Homework and Quizzes
Midterm Exam
Final Exam

Academic Honesty: The work you do for this course will be your own, unless otherwise specified. You are not to submit other people's work and represent it as your own. I consider academic honesty to be at the core of the University's activities in education and research. Academic honesty is expected at all times in this course.

Attendance: Regular class attendance is expected; we may do work in class that will count toward your grade. Students are responsible for all announcements and in-class discussion. Please email me in advance and follow up in person if you know you will need to miss class.

Collaboration and Teamwork: On some assignments students may be encouraged to co-operate by discussing the problems. That does not mean labor division in terms of problem solutions. All problems for all assignments must be done by the student who is submitting the assignment. Copying someone else's work OR allowing someone to copy your work are prohibited. All discussions and other aids used must be explicitly and properly acknowledged. For instance (examples based on Vadim Bulitko's

"I discussed problem 3.43 with my classmates K. Black and P. Posey. On problem 3.49 I received an office-hour consultation from my instructor R. Altman.  Additionally I used sources [1] and [2] for problem 3.78.

[1]. A.Jolie. "Fast Numeric Methods for Curvature Approximation",  Journal of Geeky Gamers, volume 36, issue C, June 2001.

[2] F.Oz. "On Using the Force as a Theorem Proving Technique", Jedi Archives, volume 666, number 34, May 2002."

 Any unacknowledged aid (e.g., copying from other students, copying from external sources, or elsewhere) constitutes a case of plagiarism. 

Cell Phone Policy: During class time, your cell phone (including headsets) must be turned off and out of sight. Any use of a cell phone during class will result in confiscation of the phone until that day's class has ended or your removal from the class for that day. If you attempt to use your cell phone or leave it on during an exam, you will be considered to have finished your test, and I will collect your exam at that time.  Exceptions may be made only if you discuss your situation with me prior to the start of that day's class, in this case, your cell phone must be set to vibrate/silence.

University Recording Policy: Audio or video recording (or any other form of recording) of classes is not permitted unless expressly allowed by the faculty member as indicated in the course syllabus or as a special accommodation for students who are currently registered with the Disability Resource Services Program and are approved for this accommodation. Recordings allowed as special accommodations are for the personal use of the DRS-approved student, and may only be distributed to other persons who have been approved by the DRS program. Faculty may require the student sign an Audio/Video Recording Agreement, which they may keep for their records.

University Disability Services:  CSU Stanislaus respects all forms of diversity. By university commitment and by law, students with disabilities are entitled to participate in academic activities and to be tested in a manner that accurately assesses their knowledge and skills. They also may qualify for reasonable accommodations that ensure equal access to lectures, labs, films, and other class-related activities.   Please see the instructor if you need accommodations for a registered disability.  Students can contact the Disability Resource Services office for additional information.  The Disability Resource Services website can be accessed at
Phone: (209) 667-3159

Important dates:

(See Schedule of Courses or Academic Calendar)

Last day to add a class:                     

September 6;

Last day to drop or change grade options (CR/NC): 
September 21;

No classes

September 5, October 12, November 11, November 24-25, December 13.


HW1, Section 1.1
1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 12, 20, 22, 32, 33, 36
HW2, Section 1.2
1, 3, 5, 12, 14 b and e, 15, 20, 23
HW3, Section 2.1
3a, 3d, 4b, 4c, 5c, 7b, 11a
HW4, Section 2.2
          Section 2.3
5, 8
2, 4, 13, 14
HW5, Section 3.1
          Section 3.2
1, 4, 14, 20c, 21b
3, 6b, 11, 12c
HW6, Section 3.3 2, 5, 10, 14b 10/14/16
HW7, Section 4.1
          Section 4.2
          Section 4.3
3, 10, 13, 21
1, 3, 8, 12
2, 4, 5e, 6d, 10, 18
HW8, Section 5.1
           Section 5.2
           Section 7.1
           Section 7.2
1d, 4, 7, 9b, 9h, 11
5, 7, 10, 15, 19
1, 2, 6b, 12
1, 3, 9