Computers have been used to solve an astonishing range of different problems, but this does not mean that they can be used to solve all possible problems: some cannot be solved efficiently, and some cannot be solved at all. In this module, we will introduce a set of principles and techniques for formalising computation and computability to understand what problems can be solved, how efficiently they can be solved, and what problems cannot be solved. We will develop mathematical models of computations using ideas such as sutomata theory (including Turing machines), of formal languages using ideas such as regular expressions and grammars, and will conclude by considering the notions of non-computability and complexity.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

Explain and apply mathematical models of computations

Explain and apply concepts from automata theory, formal language theory, computability theory and complexity theory

Describe and use the connection between finite automata and regular language

Explain non-computability and undecidability issues

Assessment

Assessment Methods & Exceptions

Main Assessments: Continuous assessment (100%)
Supplementary Assessments: Continuous assessment (100%) over the Summer period