Automata

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8/10 stars
based on  14 reviews
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Course Details

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FREE

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  • TBA

Course Provider

Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Provider Subject Specialization
Humanities
Sciences & Technology
4679 reviews

Course Description

This course covers finite automata, context-free grammars, Turing machines, undecidable problems, and intractable problems (NP-completeness).
Reviews 8/10 stars
14 Reviews for Automata

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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Patrix Rembang profile image
Patrix Rembang profile image
5/10 starsCompleted
  • 10 reviews
  • 10 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
I took this course when it premiered. While Prof. Ullman is a brilliant man, the length of the video (30+ minutes), and maybe my lack of math maturity made me hard to follow the lectures. He most of the time just reads what's on the slide. It would be better if he write on the slides, like Andrew Ng did in Machine Learning or Jennifer Widom did in Intro to Databases, or like Salman Khan. The good parts are Prof. Ullman and his assistant would answer questions on the forum. The office hours also help. The quizzes and exam are quite difficult for me. The optional problems are difficult too. You should have experience with formal proof, because the course video is structured as a theorem-proof sequence. You should also read the book, because it provides more context and intuition than the videos.
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Kristina Šekrst profile image
Kristina Šekrst profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 102 reviews
  • 102 completed
3 years, 5 months ago
This is a great course covering automata and complexity theory, aimed at those who can follow university-level mathematics easily. So, if there's no prior background, this might not be the case for you, since it's more math-oriented rather than computer science-oriented. There are a lot of proofs, and interesting discussion problems that have been posted every week, and solved in the forums. There are two programming assignments as well, so this is a nice combination of theory and practice. Discussion forums were very useful, and professor was active in these as well. I came to this class after finishing the Mining Massive Datasets one, which I extremely enjoyed, and I've put the Automata on my watchlist, and it certainly was not a mistake.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
3 years, 6 months ago
i just started this subject ,the content ,instructor and provider are good they are very helpful to learn Automata
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Juzer Ali profile image
Juzer Ali profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
4 years, 2 months ago
This course is not for the weak at heart. If you don't have prior knowledge you will find very very hard to follow lectures. But if you are patient enough, you will eventually get it. As other reviews have pointed out last couple of weeks are rushed through and 6 weeks is not enough to get a good grasp of the subject. You need good understanding of formal proof to follow the lectures.
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Richard Taylor profile image
Richard Taylor profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 29 reviews
  • 28 completed
4 years, 6 months ago
This is the best, and probably only, online course about automata theory, Turing machines, languages and complexity. From the most basic deterministic automatas to Turing machines and P,NP problems everything is covered with rigor and accuracy. Jeff Ullman is the ultimate authority in the subject and it is a gift to be able to see his lectures. The quizzes are of medium to hard difficulty and there's a final exam so it's not an easy course it makes you study and learn.
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Julia Brauer profile image
Julia Brauer profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 completed
5 years ago
I had no prior knowledge of automata theory, but Jeff Ullman is a great teacher, and with some formal background (especially discrete mathematics), this class is doable. Pros: \- I appreciated the highly structured setup of the lectures, it felt like a university level math class. \- Prof. Ullman and his TA contributed a lot to the discussion forums. \- Very interesting material. Cons: \- As others have noted, Prof. Ullman unfortunately rushes through Week 6. \- I would have liked more (and more challenging) assignments (the first two assignments of Stanford's Compilers class are a great way to practice some more DFAs, regular expressions, and CFGs) . To get the most out of this class, I would definitely recommend additional reading (just like any other college class).
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Ekaterina Rumyantseva profile image
Ekaterina Rumyantseva profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 5 completed
4 years, 11 months ago
Too hard to learn only for fun, but looks very good. I learned a bit of automata when I was a student, so I can say - that course is far better.
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Equanimous Creativity profile image
Equanimous Creativity profile image
7/10 starsCompleted
  • 33 reviews
  • 32 completed
5 years ago
I took this course because I wanted to learn about the theoretical side of Computer science. The lectures can be very abstract at times but the homework help to give you a good understanding of what he was talking about. I borrowed the book at the library while I took the class which was a great help.
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Ilya Rudyak profile image
Ilya Rudyak profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 5 completed
4 years, 4 months ago
In fact there are only two good books on automata out there: Introduction to the Theory of Computation by Michael Sipser and the recommended one. So you don't have a lot of options. In the first one all topics are covered and mathematical language is less complicated. It's very well known as very clear and concise text. There are also a couple of good video courses on youtube - especially from Arsdigita. The last one is brilliant. In fact - this is a standard. There are also videos of Henry Lewis from Harvard on iTunes U - and they are much more complete (3-4 month course). So what you get from this course? 1) the emphasis is on grammars and regex, other topics especially TM and complexity are covered in less details; 2) HW is tough and interesting but it's not enough for getting comfortable with main concepts 3) no serious theorems and proofs. In short - 6 weeks is not enough to cover his book AND get a solid understanding of ... In fact there are only two good books on automata out there: Introduction to the Theory of Computation by Michael Sipser and the recommended one. So you don't have a lot of options. In the first one all topics are covered and mathematical language is less complicated. It's very well known as very clear and concise text. There are also a couple of good video courses on youtube - especially from Arsdigita. The last one is brilliant. In fact - this is a standard. There are also videos of Henry Lewis from Harvard on iTunes U - and they are much more complete (3-4 month course). So what you get from this course? 1) the emphasis is on grammars and regex, other topics especially TM and complexity are covered in less details; 2) HW is tough and interesting but it's not enough for getting comfortable with main concepts 3) no serious theorems and proofs. In short - 6 weeks is not enough to cover his book AND get a solid understanding of automata. If you really want to understand the subject from this point of view you should read his book. This will give you result but is it what you really need? EDIT: in last offering you'll also get some programming exercises and a LOT of challenging problems with explanations. some of them are really hard.
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Duncan Murray profile image
Duncan Murray profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 25 reviews
  • 24 completed
5 years, 3 months ago
My background is in programming with some additional Math classes, and I took this course to get a better understanding of the theory and logic behind CS. The lecturer is easy to listen to and explains concepts well, though it is mostly reading from the slides (though with this type of material I cant think of a better way to do this). The information is very theoretical, though it gets interesting when you apply it to known concepts such as regular expressions and SQL like operations
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Jim Humelsine profile image
Jim Humelsine profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 7 reviews
  • 7 completed
5 years, 3 months ago
I had taken automata theory in college 30 years ago. I wanted a refresher, especially coming from one of the authors of my text book. Even though this was mostly review, the material was still challenging. Dr. Ullman moves very quickly through dense material. Previous experience with discrete mathematics is assumed, and being comfortable with proof by strong induction is an absolute must. Almost every proof involves induction. Sometimes Dr. Ullman lists all the steps, sometimes he just shows the inductive set up. In all cases, he runs through these proofs quickly. I would have appreciated more diagrams and other visuals as well as a few more concrete examples.
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Anna Nachesa profile image
Anna Nachesa profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 13 reviews
  • 13 completed
5 years, 10 months ago
This is probably as abstract as it can get in CS (which is by itself an abstraction). The most relevant analogy from the humanities might be a course in epistemology. In other words, this requires some heavy thinking. The written course materials were of great quality, very carefully prepared, and there is also a book for those who want to go deeper. Actually this is almost a must, because it's one of the subjects where the lectures can be understood better if you did the readings first. Don't expect an easy entertainment from this course, but if you are interested in the theoretical basis behind the modern computation and are prepared to invest some time into the learning, then give it a try. A substantial exposure to the formal thinking (theorem- proving and the logic in general might be more relevant here than the actual programming experience) is a prerequisite for this one, you won't go too far otherwise. I am very grateful to P... This is probably as abstract as it can get in CS (which is by itself an abstraction). The most relevant analogy from the humanities might be a course in epistemology. In other words, this requires some heavy thinking. The written course materials were of great quality, very carefully prepared, and there is also a book for those who want to go deeper. Actually this is almost a must, because it's one of the subjects where the lectures can be understood better if you did the readings first. Don't expect an easy entertainment from this course, but if you are interested in the theoretical basis behind the modern computation and are prepared to invest some time into the learning, then give it a try. A substantial exposure to the formal thinking (theorem- proving and the logic in general might be more relevant here than the actual programming experience) is a prerequisite for this one, you won't go too far otherwise. I am very grateful to Prof.Ullman for having the trouble to offer this high-quality course as a MOOC. For the software development practitioner, it's a good opportunity to look into the depth beyond the familiar concepts. It also helps to understand what the Computer Science is about. At the very least, you will find out what P=NP means! :)
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Sai profile image
Sai profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 14 reviews
  • 13 completed
6 years, 4 months ago
I took this course because I wanted to see this legendary figure in computer science live. The course material is pretty much a standard one. If you download the power point, you realize that Prof. Ullman is simply reading the speaker note but nonetheless I appreciated his lectures. The contents get more and more abstract as we move from finite state automata through pushdown automata to Turing machines but Prof. Ullman tried his best to answer students' questions by providing supplementary "Problem Session" videos, which was very nice. My only complaint is about the ugly Python code given in the 2 programming assignments that was hard to read.
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Bharat Krishna profile image
Bharat Krishna profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 5 reviews
  • 5 completed
6 years, 5 months ago
A very good course from the best person on this topic. Exercises were challenging. Course felt a bit rushed towards the end. Automata is a topic which could span beyond 6 weeks. Could have gone more in depth. Weekly office hours video addressed popular questions on the forums. Only issue I had was that some videos were long(about 40 mins). Breaking them up into chunks of 10-15 mins would have been better.
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