Introduction to the Theory of Computation

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9780534947286: Introduction to the Theory of Computation

Michael Sipser's philosophy in writing this book is simple: make the subject interesting and relevant, and the students will learn. His emphasis on unifying computer science theory - rather than offering a collection of low-level details - sets the book apart, as do his intuitive explanations. Throughout the book, Sipser - a noted authority on the theory of computation - builds students' knowledge of conceptual tools used in computer science, the aesthetic sense they need to create elegant systems, and the ability to think through problems on their own. INTRODUCTION TO THE THEORY OF COMPUTATION provides a mathematical treatment of computation theory grounded in theorems and proofs. Proofs are presented with a "proof idea" component to reveal the concepts underpinning the formalism. Algorithms are presented using prose instead of pseudocode to focus attention on the algorithms themselves, rather than on specific computational models. Topic coverage, terminology, and order of presentation are traditional for an upper-level course in computer science theory. Users of the Preliminary Edition (now out of print) will be interested to note several new chapters on complexity theory: Chapter 8 on space complexity; Chapter 9 on provable intractability, and Chapter 10 on advanced topics, including approximation algorithms, alternation, interactive proof systems, cryptography, and parallel computing.

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Review:

"Intended as an upper-level undergraduate or introductory graduate text in computer science theory," this book lucidly covers the key concepts and theorems of the theory of computation. The presentation is remarkably clear; for example, the "proof idea," which offers the reader an intuitive feel for how the proof was constructed, accompanies many of the theorems and a proof. Introduction to the Theory of Computation covers the usual topics for this type of text plus it features a solid section on complexity theory--including an entire chapter on space complexity. The final chapter introduces more advanced topics, such as the discussion of complexity classes associated with probabilistic algorithms.

About the Author:

Michael Sipser has taught theoretical computer science and mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the past 32 years. He is a Professor of Applied Mathematics, a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), and the current head of the mathematics department. He enjoys teaching and pondering the many mysteries of complexity theory.

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