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Elements of the Theory of Computation Hardcover – 7 Aug 1997
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One of the advised books was this "Elements of the Theory of Computation" by H. R. Lewis e C. H. Papadimitriou, which isn't an easy book to the ones that don't like "abstractions". This book is about Math/Computer Science, with an high level of formalism, due to all the theorems and proofs, so it implies that you have some mathematical background and interest. This isn't a Programming book.
Some people say that this is an advanced book, not be given to undergraduate students, but the fact is that this is a course lectured in the 2nd year of my Computer Science - Teaching Branch degree, here in my University.
This book covers an introduction to Discrete Mathematics (sets, relations, strings, ...), Finite Automata ( regular expressions and languages ), Context-free Languages, Turing Machines, Uncomputability and the Halting Problem (undecidable problems), Computational Complexity and NP-Completeness.
One of the major problems of this book is the lack of suficient solved examples, precious to self learners like myself. Most authors forget this crucial aspect. I'm one of the persons that prefers to learn by example.
Other good alternatives to this book (they cover most of the same topics) are:
- "Automata and Formal Language" by Dean Kelley.
- "Introduction to the Theory of Computation" by M. Sipser
- "Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages and Computation" by J. E. Hopcroft, R. Motwani e J. D. Ullman
Elements of the Theory of Computation is a good book, but not a basic one. And it's target audience is very restricted. Surely not a "for dummies" like type.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
My principal complaint with this book, and the only reason I gave this book a four-star review instead of five, is the same complaint I have with a lot of other textbooks - there are no answers for any of the problems (nor can I find a supplement or a study guide or any help anywhere). Given the nature of the problems themselves, it's impossible to verify your answers. This seems to be a trend in textbooks, and it's extremely frustrating. I plan to self-study the last half of the book in the next few months, but without a self-study guide, I'm pretty much out of luck if I can't solve a problem.
2)Also the size of the book is very small and the letter size in the book are very small which is not there in the original book.
So I am not satisfied with this book.
TOC is an extremely interesting subject. I had a great instructor for my course, and towards the later part of the course I used this book only for the end of the chapter problems which I found to be very useful in understanding the course contents.
This book, unfortunately has a lot of typos. Typos in Mathematical proofs are extremely irritating, because students often end up wasting a lot of time on the proofs with the typos. Another thing that I didnt like about the book was that the authors don't give sufficient examples. The section on turing machines should ideally have examples of machines for various computable functions. The authors give examples for only a few. The few examples given are well explained, but am sure the authors could have done with a some more examples.
Similar problems are seen in the sections covering the pumping lemmas. The authors give only a couple of examples wherein they apply the pumping lemma for regular/context-free languages. Too little to help undergraduates master the techniques of using the very versatile and powerful pumping lemmas. They do give a good selection of exercises at the end of the chapter, but if you are using the book for self study, and dont have a good instructor to help you, you are going to have a hard time trying to solve those problems. The exercises require many original ideas, and I don't think the text/solved examples prepare one for that.