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CS 4-5723 Automata Theory

Fall 2018, Section 001, TR 9:30am-10:45am, CSM 212 (3 credits)


Dr. Jeff Jenness
OfficeCSM 132Office HoursTR 11:00am-12:00pm and MW 11:00pm-12:00pm
Phone870-972-3978 ext.

Course Description

CS 4-5723.  Automata Theory
Study formal languages and equivalent models of computation, finite state automata and regular expressions, push down automata and context free grammars, pumping lemmas and closure properties, and turing machines. Prerequisites: CS 3113. Fall odd.

Program Specific Outcomes

  • (Reinforced) Graduates of the B.S./B.A. Computer Science degree program attain the ability to apply knowledge of computing and mathematics appropriate to the discipline.
  • (Reinforced) Graduates of the B.S./B.A. Computer Science degree program attain recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in continuing professional development.

Program Specific Outcomes

  • (Reinforced) M.S. Computer Science graduate students should have a deeper understanding of the theory and application of algorithms, programming languages, and computer processes.

Course Objectives

The student will perform basic proofs in the foundations of computer science. The student will understand some of the theory behind regular languages and automata. The student will be able to construct grammars, automata and turing machines.

Course Outcomes

  • Understand the basic principles behind mathematical induction
  • Be able to construct basic proofs for sets and languages
  • Understand the idea of deterministic and nondeterministic automata
  • Construct simple machines and grammars for a variety of languages
  • Prove properties for both regular and context-free languages
  • Be able to construct turing machines for solving problems


Grades are assigned on a standard scale with the following weights:

Tests (3)70%


(subject to change)

Week  TopicReadingAssignment
1 Chapter 1: Introduction to finite state machines
2 Chapter 1: Formal definitions, Proofs of closure of operations
3 Chapter 1:.Nondeterminism, proof of equivalence
4 Chapter 1: Regular Expressions, proof of equivalence
5 Chapter 1: Pumping Lemma and non-regular languages
6 Chapter 1: Applications of Pumping Lemma
7 Review and Test
8 Chapter 2: Context-free languages, grammars and ambiguity
9 Chapter 2: Nondeterministic Push-down Automata
10 Chapter 2: Equivalence of CFG's and PDA's
11 Chapter 2: Pumping Lemma and Non-context-free languages
12 Chapter 2: Deterministic Context-free languages
13 Review and Test
14 Review for Final

Dates to Remember





Introduction to the Theory of Computation, 3rd ed. (ISBN: 978-1133187790), by Michael Sipser. Course Technology, 2012. (Amazon)


Go to the online repository

Software Downloads

JFLAP is software for exploring and experimenting with automata, machines and grammars.

Course Policies

See Department Policies which will be adhered to within the course.

See Also

create PDF version