Re: good book for Foundations of CS graduate class ?

George Neuner <>
25 Aug 2006 22:19:46 -0400

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good book for Foundations of CS graduate class ? (2006-08-19)
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Re: good book for Foundations of CS graduate class ? (2006-08-24)
Re: good book for Foundations of CS graduate class ? (George Neuner) (2006-08-25)
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From: George Neuner <>
Newsgroups: comp.theory,comp.compilers
Date: 25 Aug 2006 22:19:46 -0400
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 06-08-118
Keywords: books, courses
Posted-Date: 25 Aug 2006 22:19:46 EDT

On 19 Aug 2006 01:31:20 -0400, wrote:

> I signed up for just 1 Graduate level CS class at U Mass Lowell for
>the fall. I am not working currently, though have been sending out
>resumes and working on a Ruby on Rails website on my own. My undergrad
>degree is from 1990, though I have worked as a developer for 15 years
>in relevant areas such as supporting a propriatary SQL like language
>using yacc and similar. I have been surfing the web and studying
>documents I found in the course sylabus and feel I should be able to
>handle it based on what I read and that hopefully I will have lots of
>time to study if needed. I was thinking of getting this book by Kozen
>which I saw recomended in a thread that might help me have an easier
>time of it.
>It's listed as an undergrad book, but seems relevant based on the
>course sylabus I found (below). Here is amazon link for the book.
>Any other recommendations appreciated ...
>Course Sylabus from

If you've understood what you've been doing with yacc, you probably
won't have much of a problem. Understanding parsing and constructing
automata is basically just a lot of bookkeeping - you'll learn how to
do yourself what yacc and lex have been doing for you. You already
have a working grasp of regular expressions and context free grammars,
so now you'll learn more about the various classes of languages, their
properties and applications.

I haven't read Kozen's book, but from the contents listing online it
looks like it covers the first 10 weeks of your course pretty well.

My favorite book on the subject is Hopcroft and Ullman's "Introduction
to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation". Compared to Kozen's
book, it devotes less space to automata and parsing (which is covered
in most intro compiler texts) and gives more space to discussions of
language classes, their properties and computational complexity.

Hope you enjoy the course. I'll expect to see your new, super duper,
parser generator available sometime next spring 8-)


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