600.471: Theory of Computation

Fall 2011

Assignment Guidelines and Requirements


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How to Submit Assignments

All written assignments must be handed in before the deadline. As of now, the assignments should be given to Professor Variyam.

Assignment Specifications

This is a rigorous proof-based course. Therefore, I expect your solutions to be:

  1. rigorous and
  2. legible.

The first bullet may seem silly, however there is a difference between rigor and formality. Please do not be more formal than rigor requires. A proof is not a proof if it uses cumbersome notation while leaving cases unanalyzed!

However, even if your proofs are extremely rigorous, it does you no good if I can't read them. Your homework must be written in legible and complete sentences (either natural language or math); if you write neatly, then you are free to handwrite your solutions. But if (when) you end up using mathematical notation, I highly suggest LaTeX. Since this is not a LaTeX course, you are not required to use it. If you do wish to use it and don't know it, there are plenty of excellent tutorials online. I may even add some of my own template files. The moral: write up your solutions however you wish but if I cannot read what you wrote, I cannot assign full marks to it.

Note: if you do want to try drawing parse trees with LaTeX, there is a package Qtree, available either through Penn or CTAN. Qtree is fairly simple and easy to use (however without tuning from you, it can struggle on broad trees). GasTeX is also a fairly easy-to-use package for creating automata.

Lateness Policy

Assignments will be accepted up to four (4) days after the due date, or until the assignments are graded and handed back, or until solutions are published, whichever comes first. However, there will also be a lateness penalty: for every calendar day that the assignment is late, a 0.9 multiplier will be applied to the final score. After four calendar days though, you receive an automatic zero. To be clear, the lateness calculations will proceed according to the following table:

Day Turned In Maximum Possible Grade
X (on-time) 100%
X+1 (within one 24 hour span) 90%
X+2 (within 48 hours) 81%
X+3 (within 72 hours) 73%
X+4 (within 96 hours) 66%
X+5 (more than 96 hours) 0%

Naturally, in extenuating circumstances, these policies can be amended. To get an individual extension, you must communicate with both Professor Variyam and me well before the deadline (that is, at least one day, preferably more). As an individual extension can affect the entire class, it is not something to be taken lightly. However, entire class extensions can also be given.


Last change: December 6th, 2011 15:55