UMBC CMSC451, Automata Theory and Formal Languages, Summer 2001, Session II

Course Description


Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages and Computation (second edition), Hopcroft, Motwani and Ullman. Addison Wesley, 2001.


The most important prerequisite for this course is CMSC 203 Discrete Structures. You will be expected to read, write and understand mathematical proofs. Although CMSC 202 Computer Science II is formally a prerequisite for this course, this prerequisite is mostly for programming maturity rather than technical content. In particular, no programming projects will be assigned.


There are two objectives for this course: 1) to introduce the student to the concepts in automata theory and formal languages; and 2) to continue the development of the student's skills in reading, writing and understanding mathematical proofs.


Your final grade will be based upon homework assignments (40% total) and two exams (30% each). It is very important that you do the weekly homework assignments. The homework assignments count for a major portion of your grade --- more than each exam. Your grade is given for work done during the semester; incomplete grades will only be given for medical illness or other such dire circumstances.

Your final letter grade is based on the standard formula:

0 <= F < 60, 60 <= D < 70, 70 <= C < 80, 80 <= B < 90, 90 <= A <= 100

Depending upon the distribution of grades in the class, there may be a curve in your favor, but under no circumstances will grades be curved downward.

Lecture and Homework Policy.

You are expected to attend all lectures. You are responsible for all material covered in the lecture as well as those in the assigned reading. However, this subject cannot be learned simply by listening to the lectures and reading the book. In order to master the material, you need to spend time outside the classroom, to think, to work out the homework and understand the solutions.

There will be a total of 5 homework assignments. Homework is due at the beginning of lecture --- this is so you do not work on your homework during lecture. Late homework will not be accepted --- this is to allow for timely grading and discussion of the homework solutions. Since you will be given partial credit for serious attempts, you should simply turn in whatever you have accomplished for the homework set when it is due.

Working Together

You are encouraged to work with other students and to consult other reference books. However, you must acknowledge your collaborators and reference materials by listing them on the last page of your homework. Also, you must write up your homework independently. This means you should only have the textbook and your own notes in front of you when you write up your homework --- not your friend's notes, your friend's homework or other reference material.

You should not have a copy of someone else's homework under any circumstance. For example, you should not let someone turn in your homework. Cases of academic dishonesty will be dealt with severely. At the very least, students who submit copied homework assignments will receive a grade of 0 for that assignment --- this applies both to the person who copied the homework and to the person who allowed the his/her homework to be copied.

Last Modified: 29 Jun 2001 10:15:45 EDT by
Richard Chang

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