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Formal Languages and Logic, Fall 2014

Formal Languages and Logic (3202011)

Jacobs University Bremen, Fall 2014, Herbert Jaeger

Class sessions: Mondays 11:15 – 12:30  and Wednesdays 14:15 – 15:30, CS lecture hall

Topics: Formal languages, discrete automata, first-order logic. This course gives an introduction to the most basic themes of theoretical computer science. Formal languages and discrete automata are the fundaments of programming languages and their parsing and compiling. First-order logic is the basis of artificial intelligence, program verification and advanced data base systems.

Helpful documents:

Lecture notes Self-contained, complete set of lecture notes. Last update: August 31 (some add-ons in Section 2).

A collection of exercises and exams with solutions from 2003 (pdf)

A collection of exercises and exams with solutions from 2004 (pdf)

A collection of exercises and exams with solutions from 2005 (pdf)

The midterm and final exam questions with solutions, 2006 (pdf)

The final exam from 2010 with solutions (multiple choice format) (pdf)

Additional reading: a condensed intro to RDF, written by Jan Wilken Dörrie. To be enjoyed at the end of the lecture as this concerns a marriage between logic and grammars, of central importance for "semantic web" techologies.

Course culture. The online lecture notes are a fully self-contained, textbook-style, detailed text. Any exam questions are based solely on what is in the lecture notes. Thus, a student could perfectly pass this course by just home-studying the lecture notes, tuning his/her skills on the weekly homeworks, sit in the exams, and be done without ever seeing me. Ooops. I do want to see my students... Easy: I make classroom attendance mandatory. Ooops again - mandatory boredom? Solution: (i) mandatory classroom presence, (ii) mandatory pre-reading of the lecture note portion of the day, (iii) in class I will only briefly rehearse the pre-read lecture note material, making sure that everybody has a good grasp of it, and then (iv) I will spend most of the classroom time telling you stuff that is related to the lecture note material, but outside of it -- stuff you will not find in typical lecture notes: historical background, applications, connections of computer science to other sciences, tricky problems and open questions, math minitutorials, and more. This "extra" stuff will, I hope, make attendance worth its while, although it is not exam-relevant. You will, I hope very much, be amazed how deeply the technical material of this lecture is connected to realities outside CS.

Grading and exams: Grading and exams: The final course grade will be composed from homeworks (10%), presence sheets (10%), active participation in class (5%), and quizzes/exams. There will be four miniquizzes (written in class, 20 minutes), the best three of which will each account to 15% of the final grade (worst will be dropped), and one final exam, counting 30%. All quizzes are open book. Each quiz or exam yields a maximum of 100 points. The total semester points Pts_total are computed as the weighted semester point average (each quiz points are weighted by 0.15, the final by 0.30, etc.), and from Pts_total the final grade is computed by the standard Jacobs formula.

Miniquiz makeup rules: if a miniquiz is missed without excuse, it will be graded with 0 points. An oral makeup will be offered for medically excused miniquizzes according to the Jacobs rules (especially, the medical excuse must be announced to me on the day of the miniquiz). Non-medical excuses can be accepted and miniquiz makeups be arranged on a case-by-case basis.

References (optional! the online lecture notes suffice)

  • Hopcroft, John E., Motwani, Rajeev, and Ullman, Jeffrey: Introduction to Automata Theory, 2nd (Addison-Wesley). The standard textbook for most parts of this lecture, except for the logic part.  IRC: QA267 .H56 2001
  • Schoening, Uwe: Logic for Computer Scientists (Progress in Computer Science and Applied Logic, Vol 8), (Birkhauser). The book contains what its title suggests. IRC: QA9 .S363 1989

Schedule (this will be filled in synchrony with reality as we go along)

Sep 1

Sep 3 Alphabets, words, languages, and sizes of sets. Exercise sheet 1
Sep 8 Deterministic finite automata (DFAs). Reading: Lecture notes Section 3.1 up to (excluding) Definition 3.4. 
Sep 10 Nondeterministic finite automata (NFAs). Reading: LN Section 3.1 up to (including) example 3.4. Exercise sheet 2
Sep 15 Epsilon-NFAs. Moore and Mealy machines. Reading: LN Section 3.1 to end.
Sep 17 Regular expressions and equivalence to DFAs. Reading: LN Section 3.2.  Exercise sheet 3
Sep 22 Algebraic laws for regexps. Pumping lemma. Reading: LN Sections 3.3, 3.4
Sep 24 Miniquiz 1. Closure properties of regular languages. Reading: LN Section 3.5.  Exercise sheet 4
Sep 29 The Myhill-Nerode theorem, minimization of DFAs, decision properties. Reading: LN Section 3.6
Oct 1 Describing languages by context-free grammars: basic definitions and the issue of ambiguity. Reading: LN Sections 4.1, 4.2   Exercise sheet 5
Oct 6 Regular languages are context-free. XML magic. Reading: LN Sections 4.3, 4.4
Oct 8 Pushdown automata. Reading: LN Section 4.5 (except proofs!). Exercise sheet 6
Oct 13 Chomsky Normal Form. Reading: LN Section 4.6
Oct 15 Miniquiz 2. Modeling parallel distributed systems with DFA networks: cellular automata (no reading).   Exercise sheet 7 (submit Oct 29)  And here is the CA simulator by Mirek Wójtowicz that I demonstrated in class
Oct 22 Closure and decision properties of CFLs. More general types of grammars. Modelling human language. Reading: LN section 4.8.
Oct 27 Introducing first-order logic. Term syntax. Reading: LN Section 6, Section 7 up to (including) Example 7.2
Oct 29 Syntax of FOL. Formalizing pieces of reality in FOL. Reading: LN Section 7.1.  Exercise sheet 8
Nov 3 Semantics of FOL: S-structures, S-interpretations. Reading: LN Section 7.2 up to Def. 7.7
Nov 5 Miniquiz 3.   Exercise sheet 9
Nov 10 The model relationship. Reading: LN Section 7.2 to end.
Nov 12 Logical entailment and a taste of set theory.   Exercise sheet 10
Nov 17 Sequent calculus: the set of inference rules. Reading: LN Section 8 up to the overview table (page 85)
Nov 19 Derived rules and formal proofs. Reading: LN Section 8 to end    Exercise sheet 11
Nov 24 The big theorems of FOL. Reading: LN Section 9.
Nov 26 Miniquiz 4 + CHE evaluation + course evaluation (bring your computers)
Dec 1 Freestyle: basic ideas of machine learning 1. Non-mandatory, no obligatory class presence
Dec 3 Freestyle: basic ideas of machine learning 2
Dec 9 Final exam (14:00, IRC conference hall)