Introduction

Introduction - Harvard CS121 and CSCI E-207 Lecture 1:...

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Harvard CS121 and CSCI E-207 Lecture 1: Introduction and Overview Harry Lewis September 2, 2009
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Harvard CS121 September 2, 2009 Introduction to Formal Systems and Computation Computer Science 121 and CSCI E-207 Objective: Make a theory out of the idea of computation . 1
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Harvard CS121 September 2, 2009 What is “computation”? “Processing of information based on a finite set of operations or rules.” Paper + Pencil Arithmetic 121 + 99 220 Abacus Calculator w/moving parts (Babbage wheels, Mark I) Digital Computers 2
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Harvard CS121 September 2, 2009 Further computing devices Programs in C, Java. The Internet and other distributed systems. Cells/DNA? The human brain? Quantum computers? 3
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Harvard CS121 September 2, 2009 What do we want in a “theory”? Generality Technology-independent Abstraction: ignores inessential details Precision Mathematical, formal. Can prove theorems about computation, both positive (what can be computed) and negative (what cannot be computed). 4
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Harvard CS121 September 2, 2009 Representing “Information” Alphabet Ex: a, b, c, . . . , z . Strings: finite concatenation of alphabet symbols, order matters Ex: qaz, abbab ε = empty string (length 0; sometimes e ) we focus on discrete computations 5
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Harvard CS121 September 2, 2009 Computational Problems (i.e. Tasks) A single question that has infinitely many different instances PARITY : given a string x , does it have an even number of a ’s? MAJORITY : given a string x , does it have more a ’s than b ’s? 6
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Harvard CS121 September 2, 2009 Examples of computational problems on numbers ADDITION : given two numbers x, y , compute x + y . PRIMALITY : given a number x , is x prime? Examples of computational problems about computer programs C SYNTAX: given a string of ASCII symbols, does it follow the syntax rules for the C programming language? HALTING PROBLEM : given a computer program (say in C ), can it ever get stuck in an infinite loop? 7
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Harvard CS121 September 2, 2009 Computational problems from pure and applied mathematics DIOPHANTINE EQUATIONS : Given a polynomial equation (e.g. x 2 + 3 xyz - 44 z 3 = 0 ), does it have an integer solution? TRAVELLING SALESMAN PROBLEM
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Introduction - Harvard CS121 and CSCI E-207 Lecture 1:...

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