George Mason University 


CS330 - Formal Methods and Models - Fall 2007

TR -- 9:00-10:15, IN 134 

Prerequisites | Description | Readings | Syllabus | Grading | Late | TA | Dates

This page last updated on 8/27/2007 

Professor Dana Richards 


(Please prefix the subject of your email with CS330.) 

Course office hours: Tuesday and Thursday 11:00-12:00 or by appt.

Sci&Tech II Room 425 


CS211 and Math 125 (C or better in both).

The exposure to Discrete Mathematics (in Math 125 or a similar course) for most students has been important for success in this course. 


This course is an introduction to two kinds of formal systems - languages and logics - with important applications to computer science. The study of formal languages underlies important aspects of compilers and other language processing systems, as well as the theory of computation. Various systems of logic and automatic reasoning are put to use in artificial intelligence, database theory and software engineering. The entire course will give you practice in precise thinking and proof methods that play a role in the analysis of algorithms. The programming assignments in Lex and Prolog provide practical experience with some theoretical topics. 


  1. Logic and Languages Models for Computer Science, by Hamburger and Richards.


The pace is approximate. Later chapters will not be covered as completely. 

  Topic                                 Class        Part/Chapters

  Introduction                           1          1

  Propositional Logic and Proofs         1-2        2-3

  Predicate Logic and Proofs             3-4        4-5

  Applications: Prolog and Verification  5-6        6-7

  Exam #1                                6

  Finite Automata, Regular Expressios    7-9        8-10

  Lex: a Regular Expression Language     10         11

  Context-Free Grammars & Applications   11-12      12-13

  Turing Machines & Solvability          13-14      14


Tenatively, Exam #1 will be Oct 11 and Exam #2 will be Dec 11 (at 7:30). 


Quizzes -- 20%

Programs -- 20%

Exams -- 60%

The two exams, including the final, each cover about a half of the semester; the final is not cumulative. Of these exams the highest score will count 35%,and the lowest 25%. 

Homework is ungraded.

Quizzes will test homework, typically every other class class.

The lowest quiz grades will be dropped.

There will be small programming assignments in Lex and in Prolog. 

All testing is closed book, but limited notes are permitted, as follows for exams (but not for quizzes). One sheet of notes (8.5 by 11 inches, 1 side only). NO COPYING is allowed. That means no photocopying of anything, even the textbook, though you may write out material from it verbatim. It also means no copying of anyone else's notes, even by hand. You may use a computer for editing your own notes. The sheet must be turned in with your exam. Violations of these rules for creating the notes is considered a violation of the Honor Code. 

There is to be NO group work on the programs. Receiving direct contributions to the code that is submitted is considered a violation of the Honor Code. (See for the GMU and Computer Science guidelines.)


Programs will be marked down 25% each class they are late; in particular, it marked down 25% after the due date.


Aybar Acar,, ST2-365 Wed 3-4:30 and Thurs 10:30-12:00 (or by appt)

There is also a UTA: Duane Young,, hours TBA