MATH230-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020

Logic, Automata, and Computability

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 13 July 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 24 July 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 25 September 2020


An introduction to various formal logics, the theory of automata, and the theoretical limitations of the computer.

This course takes a tour through some of the rigorous mathematical foundations of modern computer science and logic. Do not let the word “rigorous” scare you off – any student who possesses basic number skills, a healthy desire to grapple with abstract concepts, and perseverance may do well.

The first half of the course will take a close look at the concept of logical deduction. Lectures will be drawn from the following topics: natural deduction, soundness and completeness of formal systems, interpretations, intuitionistic logic, and links between proof and computation. Lectures for the second half of the course outline formal models of computation. We will cover topics from the following list: formal languages, finite-state automata, Turing machines, register machines, Markov algorithms, grammars, cellular automata, recursive functions, lambda calculus, other computation models, undecidability.

Learning Outcomes

  • have developed an appreciation for the mathematical foundations of computation
  • have insight into the way humans reason
  • have developed skills in informal and formal reasoning
  • understand some fundamental ideas concerning proof, proof checking, and proof search
  • understand the links between different computation models
  • be convinced that computers, despite their amazing computing power, have fundamental limitations


15 points from MATH102-199, and a further 15 points from 100 level COSC, EMTH, MATH, PHIL or STAT courses, excluding COSC110 and MATH101.


MATH208, MATH308, PHIL208 (prior to 2014), PHIL210, PHIL308 (prior to 2014).

Equivalent Courses

Course Coordinator

Felipe Voloch


Louis Warren and Walter Guttmann


Tutorial participation, assignments, test, and final examination.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $780.00

International fee $4,250.00

* 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 Mathematics and Statistics .

All MATH230 Occurrences

  • MATH230-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020