Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Breaking News! Click here for details.

 CSC 360 – Formal Languages and Computability

Course Syllabus – Fall 2022


Section Day

Section Time

Section Location

CSC 360-800


11:00am - 12:15pm

Synchronous Online via Zoom

CSC 360-801


12:30pm - 1:45pm

Synchronous Online via Zoom

Schedule (See Canvas)


Curry Guinn
Office hours:  Via Zoom on MW 11:00am-12:00pm and by appointment
Phone: (910) 962-7937


An introduction to theoretical computer science. Topics include regular expression and finite state concepts; basic automata theory; formal grammars and languages; computability; Turing machines; elementary recursive function theory.

Prerequisite Courses: CSC 231 with a minimum grade of C and CSC 242.  


A picture containing graphical user interface

Description automatically generated

An Introduction to Formal Languages and Automata [6th Edition or 7th edition] by Peter Linz  (Author) (Jones and Bartlett Website) 




Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges (1992) Paperback: 8601300066868: Books

Alan Turing: The Enigma.  Any edition, by Andrew Hodges (Author), Princeton University Press.  







The Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for CSC 360 are:

1.      Students develop knowledge of the mathematical foundations of computer science including set theory, relations, functions, recursion, and mathematical induction.

2.      Students develop knowledge of languages and the ability to express regular languages using regular sets, regular expressions, and context-free grammars.

3.      Students learn how to perform transformations of context-free grammars to normal forms.

4.      Students develop knowledge of and an ability to create finite state automata that can accept regular languages. Further, students can remove non-determinism and produce minimal deterministic finite automata.

5.      Students develop knowledge of and an ability to create pushdown automata that can accept context-free languages.

6.      Students can determine whether a given language is regular, context-free, or neither by application of closure properties and the Pumping Lemmas.

7.       Students can effectively communicate the concepts of this course by employing acceptable standard nomenclature and symbols of mathematics, proofs, sets, relations, functions, and graph theory.


90 - 100 A-, A

80 - 89.5 B-, B, B+

70 - 79.5 C-, C, C+

60 - 69.5 D-, D, D+

Ignore any grade calculations or totals in the Canvas gradebook.  The following weighting of grades will be used; this weighting is not reflected in the Canvas gradebook.


Late Policy

There are no makeups for Quizzes.   Quizzes administered on Canvas will have a clearly defined due date and time and will be posted with a minimum of 48 hours notice.


There are no makeups for missed midterms or final exams.   The schedule for midterms and the final exam is already posted.  In the event of a change, an announcement will be made in class and via email.  


Homeworks will be submitted online.   To receive full credit, the online submission must be made by the time and date specified in Canvas.  Late assignments will be automatically docked 10 points per day, with Saturday/Sunday counting as one day.    


Attendance Policy

Attending the synchronous class meetings is required.  While the meeting will be recorded so that students may review the material afterwards,  a lack of attendance is strongly correlated to poor student performance.   About 30%-40% of the material in this course is presented only in class.  It is not in the textbook.    Therefore, the following policy will be used:

If a student is not present for:

1-3 course meetings

No change in final grade

4 meetings

A plus/minus deduction from the final grade.  [In other words, if a student has an A, the recorded grade would be A-.   If a student has a B-, the recorded grade would be C+.] 

5 meetings

Two plus/minus deductions.    [e.g., an A becomes a B+, a B- becomes a C.]

6 meetings

Three plus/minus deductions. [e.g., an A becomes a B, a B- becomes a C-.]

7 meetings

Four plus/minus deductions. [e.g., an A becomes a B-, a B- becomes a D+.]

8 meetings

Five plus/minus deductions.

9 or greater meetings

F for the course.


Zoom Policy

Course meetings will occur in Zoom.   Please obtain both a microphone and a webcam if you do not already have that hardware.  A microphone and a webcam are required for the course.

When you connect to a class meeting, please make sure that your displayed name is in the format <FirstName LastName>, e.g., “Mary Jones”.   


Your webcam does not always have to be on, but it will be required during any synchronous testing.   When your webcam is not on, please have a professionally appropriate image of yourself as the default image.   Your student ID image is perfectly fine.   


Using Zoom in a professional manner is important job training as many tech jobs are being done remotely.   Zoom and similar tools will be a part of your professional career even after we have the pandemic under control.    Here are some tips:

·         Mute your microphone always unless you are speaking.

·         Make your default image be professionally appropriate and, in general, similar to your UNCW ID photograph.  

·         Do not use any Zoom Video Filters.   They are unprofessional and distracting.  

·         Make sure objects visible in your background are professionally appropriate.  E.g., no smoking paraphernalia, alcohol bottles, posters with inappropriate images, etc.  Common sense.

·         Do not smoke or drink alcohol during a Zoom meeting.

·         Do not Zoom from bed.

·         Drinking coffee or water is fine, but don’t eat while on camera.

·         Wear clothing that is appropriate for a face-to-face class.   If you wouldn’t wear it on campus, don’t wear it in Zoom.   


Inappropriate behavior will result in being evicted from the Zoom meeting and reported to the Dean of Students.  



Academic Integrity

University Policy on academic integrity will be followed for this course. Cheating will be taken very seriously, resulting in severe penalties.  The academic integrity policy for each class varies. Please follow the policies below:

Appropriate Collaboration

·         Sharing class notes with another student.

·         Discussing anything that was covered in class.

·         Helping a fellow student locate a bug in their program, provided the following is true:

§  You never type or dictate code for the student. You may help the student resolve a particular issue. You may not solve large parts of the programming problem for them.

Inappropriate Collaboration

·         Showing another student (who has not completed the assignment) your code or answers to a problem.

·         Copying problem solutions or code from another student.

·         Verbally providing other students with the solution to a homework problem. (This would be along the lines of giving them the key to solving the problem when they need to think it through themselves.)

·         Helping other students during a test or quiz.

·         Doing another student's work.

·         Posting course material (including test/homework/quiz problems) on any internet site, message board, IM, email thread, social media, etc.

·         Submitting assignments/test/quiz problems that are plagiarized from any internet site, message board, IM, email thread, social media, etc.

Any of these constitutes cheating and will be reported to the academic integrity council.



Help Problem Solving from Instructors

You may ask for problem-solving help from your instructor or TA. However, problem solving is a skill that can be developed only by practice. It is vital for you to learn how to successfully struggle through problems on your own. If you are genuinely stuck, we will be willing to help you. If you come up with an approach that is a complete departure from the way described in class, you are responsible for fixing any resulting problems.

Intellectual Property and Copyright

Any dissemination of class notes, lecture slides, recordings, handouts, copies of exams, or any other course materials without permission of the instructor is prohibited by UNCW policy.  UNCW Copyright Use and Ownership Policy ( ) specifies that class notes and related materials are considered derivative of original intellectual property of the course instructor. Therefore, the instructor (not the student) owns the copyright and must provide specific permission to distribute and/or reuse those materials for anything other than personal use and scholarship by the student. Commercial use, display, or dissemination of such notes, copies, or recordings—as well as posting to websites--will generally constitute an infringement of copyright and the Honor Code.  Materials that qualify as student-owned are listed in the policy.


Students with Disabilities

 Students with diagnosed disabilities should contact the Office of Disability Services (962-7555). Please give me a copy of the letter you receive from Office of Disability Services detailing class accommodations you may need. If you require accommodation for test-taking, please make sure I have the referral letter no fewer than three days before the test.

Notification of Illness

Students who experience COVID-19 symptoms should immediately contact the Abrons Student Health Center at (910) 962-3280.


Learning Strategies

You are expected to take an active role in your learning in this course. This includes regular attendance, paying attention in class, reading the textbook, and completing all course requirements. You are encouraged to study with your classmates outside of class.


UNCW practices a zero-tolerance policy for violence and harassment of any kind.  For emergencies contact UNCW CARE at 962-2273, Campus Police at 962-3184, or Wilmington Police at 911.