CSCI E-207 Introduction to Formal Systems and Computation [Intro and CH. 1]

Theory scares me. It is probably because I have tried to avoid it my entire life. Maybe it is because I consider myself a practical person, not a theoretical person. But to be honest that is not a fair argument. As a computer scientist, I need to become familiar in this area and it is the primary reason I am taking this course, CSCI E-207.

As of right now I do not understand much about computational theory other than a bit about big-O-notation. And from several of the lectures and the reading assignments I have already looked at, there is a lot more that I more than I need to know.

Instead of writing a summary, I think for this class I am just going to blog my thoughts for the time being. I feel pretty uncomfortable about the topic to actually be writing about it.

The Book
I think I enjoy the book so far. It's "Introduction to the Theory of Computation" by Michael Sipser. The author explains the material well but for some (including me) it is a bit too brief. I am in the process in looking for a companion book to cover this topic.

Lecture Observations
The professor is actually a little entertaining to listen to and he speaks very well and clearly. The power-point slides are very useful and the professor hardly ever reads them word to word. Actually, there are many times where he will break from the slides to question the class or illustrate a topic on the blackboard.

Current Assignments
The first assignment seems is quite challenging. There are a few easy questions (hurray) but plenty of different ones. Unfortunately, the book does not cover all of the knowledge you must have to complete the problem set. I believe that several of the problems are based off material only found on the course's power-point slides.

Additionally, completing the assignment requires the acquisition of the Latex program -- to produce a pdf of all the formulas. From what I hear Latex will be easy to learn but I am still trying to grasp it. I do not believe the claims that the learning curve is only 20 minutes... Especially for math topics!

Run, Donnie.