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This course deals with fundamental concepts and techniques in computer science. It covers automata, formal languages, compilers, computability and complexity theory.
Covid-19 Update: Please refer to the course page on AKO | Learn for all information about your course, including lectures, labs, tutorials and assessments.We will cover topics from the following list:• finite automata and regular expressions• pushdown automata and context-free grammars• Turing machines and recursively enumerable languages• undecidability and the halting problem• complexity classes and the P=NP problem• lexical analysis and scanners• syntactic analysis and parsers• semantic analysis and optimisation• code generation
After successful completion of this course, students are able to:differentiate formal languages at the various levels of the Chomsky hierarchy,compare the expressiveness of different kinds of automata,apply conversions between languages, automata, regular expressions and grammars,separate undecidable, inefficiently decidable and efficiently decidable problems,use familiar techniques to generate automata and grammars for unfamiliar languages,outline the structure of compilers,analyse the lexical and syntactic structure of programs,use regular expressions and context-free grammars for constructing compilers,produce recursive-descent parsers, andchange components of a compiler to deal with new program constructs.
(1) COSC121 or COSC131; (2) COSC122; (3) MATH120
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Depending on final student numbers, some of the advertised lab/tutorial streams may not run. Final lab/tutorial options will be available for self-allocation closer to the start of the semester through My Timetable.
Katia De Lu
In the case of an emergency that affects the whole course, the course coordinator may change the nature, weighting and timing of assessments, e.g., tests and exam may be replaced with assignments of the same weight or different weight at a different time or date (which, under certain circumstances, may be outside the prescribed course dates).
No textbooks are required, but see the following book for additional information:• Carol Critchlow and David Eck; Foundations of Computation; version 2.3.2, 2011, available here More advanced or comprehensive books are:• Michael Sipser; Introduction to the Theory of Computation; third edition, Cengage Learning, 2013• John Hopcroft, Rajeev Motwani and Jeffrey Ullman; Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages and Computation; Pearson, 2006• Dexter Kozen; Automata and Computability; Springer, 1997• Reinhard Wilhelm and Dieter Maurer; Compiler Design; Addison-Wesley, 1995• Niklaus Wirth; Compiler Construction; Addison-Wesley, 1996• Alfred Aho, Monica Lam, Ravi Sethi and Jeffrey Ullman; Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools; second edition, Pearson, 2007
Course Information on Learn
There are several important documents available online about departmental regulations, policies and guidelines at the following site. We expect all students to be familiar with these. Notices about this class will be posted to the class forum in the Learn system.COSC students will also be made members of a class called “CSSE Notices”, where general notices will be posted that apply to all classes (such as information about building access or job opportunities).
The Computer Science department's grading policy states that in order to pass a course you must meet two requirements:1. You must achieve an average mark of at least 50% over all assessment items.2. You must achieve an average mark of at least 45% over tests and exam.If you satisfy both these criteria, your grade will be determined by the following University-wide scale for converting marks to grades: an average mark of 50% is sufficient for a C- grade, an average mark of 55% earns a C grade, 60% earns a C+ grade and so forth. However if you do not satisfy both the passing criteria you will be given either a D or E grade depending on marks. Marks are sometimes scaled to achieve consistency between courses from year to year.Students may apply for special consideration if their performance in an assessment is affected by extenuating circumstances beyond their control.Applications for special consideration should be submitted via the Examinations Office website within five days of the assessment. Where an extension may be granted for an assessment, this will be decided by direct application to the Department and an application to the Examinations Office may not be required. Special consideration is not available for items worth less than 10% of the course.Students prevented by extenuating circumstances from completing the course after the final date for withdrawing, may apply for special consideration for late discontinuation of the course. Applications must be submitted to the Examinations Office within five days of the end of the main examination period for the semester.
Domestic fee $942.00
International fee $4,988.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
Computer Science and Software Engineering