The most important prerequisite for this course is CMSC 203 Discrete
Structures. You will be expected to read, write and understand mathematical
proofs. Although CMSC 202 Computer Science II is formally a prerequisite
for this course, this prerequisite is mostly for programming maturity
rather than technical content. In particular, no programming projects will
There are two objectives for this course: 1) to introduce the student to
the concepts in automata theory and formal languages, which form the
foundations of theoretical computer science; and 2) to continue the
development of the studentŐs skills in reading, writing and understanding
Final grades will be based upon homework assignments (24% total), quizzes (48% total) and the final exam (28%). The syllabus lists 13 homework assignments and 6 quizzes. However, if a homework assignment or quiz is canceled and not made up (e.g., because school is closed for snow or hurricane), the proportion of your grade from homework, quizzes and the final exam will remain the same. That is, homework will still count for 24% of your grade and quizzes 48% of your grade (each homework or quiz will have greater weight). In any case, the lowest homework grade will be dropped.
The final letter grades are based on the standard formula:
0 ≤ F < 60, 60 ≤ D < 70, 70 ≤ C < 80, 80 ≤ B < 90, 90 ≤ A ≤ 100
Depending upon the final distribution of grades in the class, there may be a curve in your favor, but under no circumstances will grades be curved downward.
Grades are given for work done during the semester; incomplete grades will only be given for medical illness or other such dire circumstances.
In-class quizzes are scheduled for Thursday 9/22, 10/6, 10/20, 11/3, 11/17
and 12/8. Please make every effort to attend --- unexcused absences will
result in a grade of zero for that quiz. Each quiz will be held during the
last 30 minutes of the class period. The quiz will consist of one or two
questions (possibly with multiple parts) on a pre-announced topic.
Since quizzes account for 48% of your final grade, it is the main
evaluative instrument for this class. You should think of the homework as
practice for the quizzes and the final exam as a second chance to show you
have learned the material.
You are expected to attend all lectures. You are responsible for all
material covered in the lecture as well as those in the assigned reading.
However, this subject cannot be learned simply by listening to the lectures
and reading the book. In order to master the material, you need to spend
time outside the classroom, to think, to work out the homework and
understand the solutions.
Assignments are due at the beginning of lecture. Late homework will not
be accepted --- this is to allow for timely grading and discussion of the
homework solutions. Reasonable provisions will be made for students who
are delayed by traffic, who are on travel, ... Late homework will be
rejected from students who have obviously been working on homework instead
of attending lecture.
Partial credit will be given for serious attempts on the homework problems.
So you should simply turn in whatever you have accomplished by the
beginning of class. If you cannot attend lecture when homework is due, for
some honorable reason, you must make arrangements to submit your homework
directly to the instructor. Do not ask another student to submit your
homework for you. This is to reduce the temptation to cheat (see below).
You are permitted, but not encouraged, to work with other students
on the homework problems. Most of the homework assignments are
straightforward and should be done independently. This increases the
likelihood that you will have mastered the material for the quizzes. The
occasional brain teaser is more suitable for collaboration. If you do
collaborate with other students, you must acknowledge your collaborators by
listing them on the last page of your homework. Also, you must write up
your homework independently. This means you should only have the
textbook and your own notes in front of you when you write up your homework
--- not your friend's notes, your friend's homework or other reference
You should not have a copy of someone else's homework under any
circumstance. For example, you should not let someone turn in your
homework. Cases of academic dishonesty will be dealt with severely. At the
very least, students who submit copied homework assignments will receive a
grade of 0 for that assignment --- this applies both to the person who copied
the homework and to the person who allowed the his/her homework to be
The UMBC academic integrity policy is available at http://www.umbc.edu/integrity/students.html.
The final exam will be given on Thursday, Dec.15, 1:00pm-3:00pm in ACIV 145.