Theory of Computation - Syllabus

Embark on a profound academic exploration as you delve into the Theory of Computation course (TOC) within the distinguished Tribhuvan university's CSIT department. Aligned with the 2074 Syllabus, this course (CSC257) seamlessly merges theoretical frameworks with practical sessions, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the subject. Rigorous assessment based on a 60 + 20 + 20 marks system, coupled with a challenging passing threshold of , propels students to strive for excellence, fostering a deeper grasp of the course content.

This 3 credit-hour journey unfolds as a holistic learning experience, bridging theory and application. Beyond theoretical comprehension, students actively engage in practical sessions, acquiring valuable skills for real-world scenarios. Immerse yourself in this well-structured course, where each element, from the course description to interactive sessions, is meticulously crafted to shape a well-rounded and insightful academic experience.

Course Description: This course presents a study of Finite State Machines and their languages. It

covers the details of finite state automata, regular expressions, context free grammars. More, the

course includes design of the Push-down automata and Turing Machines. The course also includes

basics of undecidabilty and intractability.

Course Objectives: The main objective of the course is to introduce concepts of the models of

computation and formal language approach to computation. The general objectives are to,

introduce concepts in automata theory and theory of computation, design different finite state

machines and grammars and recognizers for different formal languages, identify different formal

language classes and their relationships, and determine the decidability and intractability of

computational problems.


Basic Foundations

1.1. Review of Set Theory, Logic, Functions, Proofs

1.2. Automata, Computability and Complexity: Complexity Theory, Computability Theory,

Automata Theory

1.3. Basic concepts of Automata Theory: Alphabets, Power of Alphabet, Kleen Closure

Alphabet, Positive Closure of Alphabet, Strings, Empty String, Substring of a string,

Concatenation of strings, Languages, Empty Language

Introduction to Finite Automata

2.1 Introduction to Finite Automata, Introduction of Finite State Machine

2.2 Deterministic Finite Automata (DFA), Notations for DFA, Language of DFA, Extended

Transition Function of DFA Non-Deterministic Finite Automaton (NFA), Notations for

NFA, Language of NFA, Extended Transition

2.3 Equivalence of DFA and NFA, Subset-Construction

2.4 Method for reduction of NFA to DFA, Theorems for equivalence of Language accepted

by DFA and NFA

2.5 Finite Automaton with Epsilon Transition (ε - NFA), Notations for ε - NFA, Epsilon

Closure of a State, Extended Transition Function of ε – NFA, Removing Epsilon

Transition using the concept of Epsilon Closure, Equivalence of NFA and ε –NFA,

Equivalence of DFA and ε – NFA

2.6 Finite State Machines with output: Moore machine and Mealy Machines

Regular Expressions

3.1 Regular Expressions, Regular Operators, Regular Languages and their applications,

Algebraic Rules for Regular Expressions

3.2 Equivalence of Regular Expression and Finite Automata, Reduction of Regular

Expression to ε – NFA, Conversion of DFA to Regular Expression

3.3 Properties of Regular Languages, Pumping Lemma, Application of Pumping Lemma,
Closure Properties of Regular Languages over (Union, Intersection, Complement)
Minimization of Finite State Machines: Table Filling Algorithm

Context Free Grammar

4.1 Introduction to Context Free Grammar (CFG), Components of CFG, Use of CFG,

Context Free Language (CFL)

4.2 Types of derivations: Bottomup and Topdown approach, Leftmost and Rightmost,

Language of a grammar

4.3 Parse tree and its construction, Ambiguous grammar, Use of parse tree to show ambiguity

in grammar

4.4 Regular Grammars: Right Linear and Left Linear, Equivalence of regular grammar and

finite automata

4.5 Simplification of CFG: Removal of Useless symbols, Nullable Symbols, and Unit

Productions, Chomsky Normal Form (CNF), Greibach Normal Form (GNF), Backus-

Naur Form (BNF)

4.6 Context Sensitive Grammar, Chomsky Hierarchy Pumping Lemma for CFL, Application

of Pumping Lemma, Closure Properties of CFL

Push Down Automata

5.1 Introduction to Push Down Automata (PDA), Representation of PDA, Operations of

PDA, Move of a PDA, Instantaneous Description for PDA

5.2 Deterministic PDA, Non Deterministic PDA, Acceptance of strings by PDA, Language

of PDA

5.3 Construction of PDA by Final State , Construction of PDA by Empty Stack,

5.4 Conversion of PDA by Final State to PDA accepting by Empty Stack and vice-versa,

Conversion of CFG to PDA, Conversion of PDA to CFG

Turing Machines

6.1 Introduction to Turing Machines (TM), Notations of Turing Machine, Language of a

Turing Machine, Instantaneous Description for Turing Machine, Acceptance of a string

by a Turing Machines

6.2 Turing Machine as a Language Recognizer, Turing Machine as a Computing Function,

Turing Machine with Storage in its State, Turing Machine as a enumerator of stings of a

language, Turing Machine as Subroutine

6.3 Turing Machine with Multiple Tracks, Turing Machine with Multiple Tapes, Equivalence

of Multitape-TM and Multitrack-TM, Non-Deterministic Turing Machines, Restricted

Turing Machines: With Semi-infinite Tape, Multistack Machines, Counter Machines

6.4 Curch Turing Thesis, Universal Turing Machine, Turing Machine and Computers,

Encoding of Turing Machine, Enumerating Binary Strings, Codes of Turing Machine,

Universal Turing Machine for encoding of Turing Machine

Undecidability and Intractability

7.1 Computational Complexity, Time and Space complexity of A Turing Machine,


7.2 Complexity Classes, Problem and its types: Absract, Decision, Optimization

7.3 Reducibility, Turing Reducible, Circuit Satisfiability, Cook’s Theorem,

7.4 Undecidability, Undecidable Problems: Post’s Correspondence Problem, Halting

Problem and its proof, Undecidable Problem about Turing Machines

Lab works

Laboratory Work Manual

Student should write programs and prepare lab sheets for most of the units in the syllabus. Majorly,

students should practice design and implementation of Finite State Machines viz. DFA, NFA, PDA,

and Turing Machine. Students are highly recommended to construct Tokenizers/ Lexical analyzer

over/for some language. The nature of programming can be decided by the instructor and students

as per their comfort. The instructors have to prepare lab sheets for individual unit covering the

concept of all units as per the requirement. The sample lab sessions can be as following


Unit I: Basic Foundations (5 Hrs)

- Write programs for illustrating the concepts of Strings, Prefix, Suffix and Substring of a String.

Unit II & III: Introduction to Finite Automata and Regular Expressions (14 Hrs)

Write programs for illustrating the concepts of

  •  Determinstic Finite Automata
  •  Non-Deterministic Finite Automata

Write programs for implementing Tokenizers like for valid C-identifiers, Keywords, e-mail                validators, phone number etc.

Write programs that implement NFA for text search.

Write programs for implementing regular expressions.

Unit IV & V: Context Free Grammar and Push Down Automata (14 Hrs)

Write Program for simulation of Leftmost/Rightmost Derivations.

Write Program for Parse Tree Contruction.

Write programs for illustrating the concepts of context free grammar and its accptance using the    concepts of Push Down Automata

  • Acceptance by Final State
  • Acceptance by Empty Stack

Unit VI: Turing Machines (12 Hrs)

- Write programs for illustrating the concepts of Turing Machine as a Language Recognizer.