15-Reviews - Reviews Dines Bjrner1,2 and Martin Henson3...

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Reviews Dines Bjørner 1 , 2 and Martin Henson 3 (editors) 1 Department of Informatics and Mathematical Modelling, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. ( bjorner@gmail.com ) 2 Department of Computer Science, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK ( hensm@essex.ac.uk ) Summary. In this chapter we present short commentaries of the speciFcation lan- guages whose logics are presented in this book. The brief “essays” are written by people closely related to the development and research of the individual languages. 1 Yuri Gurevich: ASM We share our experience of using abstract state machines for teaching com- putation theory at the University of Michigan. 1.1 Introduction Dines Bjørner asked me to write a short non-technical essay “taking its depar- ture” in the chapter Abstract State Machines for the Classroom by Wolfgang Reisig. Well, I like Wolfgang’s chapter very much. Let me use this opportunity to share some of my experience of teaching with ASMs at the University of Michigan. I was at Michigan from 1982 till 1998, most of the time (from 1984 on) with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). The last few of those Michigan years I used ASMs in my teaching. To keep this essay short, let me restrict attention to the course on computation theory. I taught the course often. At the Mathematics Department of Israel’s Ben Gurion University, where I taught before coming to Michigan, undergraduate courses were up for grabs, and I enjoyed teaching and learning new courses. In EECS, the undergraduate curriculum was partitioned into feudal domains, and the small computer theory group owned few courses. Kevin Compton, my fellow theorist in EECS, said once: “I’ve taught that course so many times that I could do it in my sleep . . . and often have.” In this connection, I tried each time a new angle in teaching the course, which partially explains why my frequent teaching of the course did not result in a book. Since 1998, I am with Microsoft Research. The engineering culture of Microsoft has rubbed oF
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600 Dines Bjørner and Martin Henson (editors) on me, and today my teaching would be diferent. But I would continue to use ASMs in my teaching; my conFdence in ASMs has only grown. The computation theory course was a part o± the official curriculum o± the Association ±or Computing Machinery (ACM), and it served as a prerequisite ±or some other courses. It was supported by the venerable 1979 “Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation” by John Hopcro±t and Jefrey Ullman [3], and new excellent textbooks kept appearing. Nevertheless in the 1990s the course on Fnite state machines, pushdown automata and Turing machines seemed antiquated. Computing became so much broader: graphical user inter±aces, parallel and distributed computing, networks, Web based computing and searching, communication and security protocols, and other ±orms o± computing that didn’t exist or weren’t yet important in 1979.
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This note was uploaded on 03/31/2010 for the course CAS 707 taught by Professor Ridhakhedri during the Spring '10 term at McMaster University.

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15-Reviews - Reviews Dines Bjrner1,2 and Martin Henson3...

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