Saturday, 25 October 2014

Thoughts on the Automata Course I took

Jeffrey Ullman's Automata course is very interesting, but heavy on the pea counting effort, and I have no pigeons handy that could help me out here, and this guy here isn't lending me his crew:

Still, it's a worthwhile class to take even if using n tracks on the Turing machine felt a little bit like cheating.  And the 3-SAT concept is useful to know in general too, and whilst I was struggling with some of the topics, it did give me a good workout.  Well, if it would be easy, it would not be so useful, no? ;-)  I definitely would not claim I understand the topic, but I gained an appreciation, and learned where to look in case I ever need it.  And I plan to retake the course if it runs again.

I did buy the Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages and Computation for ~£5 second hand, but it's a lot to read and going through it will take some time (a paragraph a day will eventually get it read, it's the Turing Machine method of studying -- it may or may not complete)

As a bonus, Mr. Ullman used a free version of his Foundations of Computer Science book, which is a very nice scenic tour of general CS concepts and a great way of refreshing long forgotten topics and picking up a few new ones.