2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Computability and Language Theory

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Sheryl Shulman computer science, Jeffrey Gordon computer science, Neal Nelson computer science, mathematics

Fields of Study: computer science and mathematics

Fall: CRN (Credit) Level 10148 (16) So - Sr; 10149 (1-16) So - Sr  

Winter: Enrollment Accepting New Students  CRN (Credit) Level 20106 (16) So - Sr; 20107 (1-16) So - Sr  Signature Required For full credit enrollment, new students must have course work or experience equivalent to the prior fall quarter work.  

Spring: Enrollment Accepting New Students  CRN (Credit) Level 30111 (16) So - Sr; 30112 (1-16) So - Sr  Signature Required For full credit enrollment, new students must have course work or experience equivalent to the prior fall and winter quarter work.  

Credits: 16(F); 16(W); 16(S)

Variable Credit Options: variable credit options available.

Class Standing: Sophomore - Senior

Offered During: Day

Prerequisites: Computer Science Foundations program or a strong mathematical background with two quarters of computer programming. Students with a strong mathematical background but little programming experience will be accepted in variable credit options.


The computer is a tremendously useful tool. Is there anything it can't do? Through studying topics in advanced computer science, this program will explore what computers can do, how we get them to do it, and what computers still can't do. It is designed for advanced computer science students and students with an interest in both mathematics and computer science.

Topics covered will include formal computer languages, systems of formal logic, computability theory, and programming language design and implementation. Students will also study a functional programming language, Haskell, learn the theoretical basis of programming languages and do an in-depth comparison of the properties and capabilities of languages in the four primary programming paradigms: functional, logic, imperative, and object-oriented. Program seminars will explore selected advanced topics in logic, language theory and computability.

Topics will be organized around three interwoven themes. The Formal Languages theme will cover the theoretical basis of language definitions, concluding with a study of what is computable. The Logic theme will cover traditional logic systems and their limits, concluding with some non-traditional logic systems and their applications to computer science. In the Programming Language theme we will study both the theoretical basis and practical implementation of programming language definitions by comparing the implementations of the four programming language paradigms. Students will have an opportunity to conclude the program with a major project, such as a definition and implementation of a small programming language.

Maximum Enrollment: 25

Upper Division Science Credit: Upper division credit will be awarded for upper division work.

May be offered again in: 2012-13

Preparatory for studies or careers in: computability theory, computer science, education, formal language theory, mathematical logic, mathematics, and programming language design.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
April 15th, 2010 Visitor to be added to this program.