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 Theory of Computation

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InstructorShai Simonson

Course Description | Lecture and Course Files | Student Evaluations

Quantitative Evaluation:

  1. Lectures:
    • Clarity of lectures: 8.6
    • Organization of material: 8.5
    • Willingness to help:9.0
  2. Recitations:
    • Clarity of recitations: 8.3
    • Organization of material: 8.16
    • Willingness to help: 9.05
  3. Teaching Assistants:
  4. Michael S Allen
    • Clarity of TA explanations: 7.05
    • TA patience: 7.05
    • TA willingness to help: 7.11
  5. Rusty Chris
    • Clarity of TA explanations:6.61
    • TA patience:6.72
    • TA willingness to help:7.61
  6. Overall course:
    • Overall course rigor and challenge: 8.1
    • Course organization and design: 8.5
    • Clear relationship to curriculum: 8.7
  7. Administration:
    • Administrative friendliness: 8.7
    • Administrative responsiveness: 7.77

Qualitative Evaluation:
For most of the students, this month was perfect the way it was. It was well organized and all the materials were well planned and well presented. As one student wrote, \"The course was just right - covered enough material in enough depth and rigor. No changes needed.\"

The students were asked to evaluate not only on the program content but also the faculty and staff with whom they interacted. The following summary is based on 18 student responses out of a class of 34.

Lectures (Shai Simonson):

For the entire class, Shai did a great job in presenting the intuitive ideas behind the formal theories. As one student commented, \"Without his insights it would have been hard to penetrate the formalism that prevails this material. In just about 3 weeks Shai managed to cover a substantial portion of the text.\"

Another student wrote, \"I thought the material was very high-level and big on theory; it is a credit to Shai's ability as a teacher, that we felt the material, despite its level, was accessible and able to be grasped by all the students.\"

Recitations (Dimitri):

As compared to the previous months, the recitations for this course were better. His recitations on problem sets were useful in getting the basic syntax.

Problem Sets:

The students found the problem sets to be challenging (but not impossible) this month. They were a good balance of starter and harder problems.


In general, the students found the \"Introduction to the Theory of Computation \" book by Michael Sipser to be informative, rigorous, and succinct without loss of clarity. However, a few of them felt it was dense.

Most helpful/unhelpful staff:

According to the students, Shai and Dimitri make a good team.

Future changes to the course:

Possible use of the Hopcroft and Ullman book along with Sipser's book.

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Site last updated: May 14, 2013
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