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Introduction to Computer Theory Paperback – October 25, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0471137726 ISBN-10: 0471137723 Edition: 2nd
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 648 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (October 25, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471137723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471137726
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By David A. Lessnau on September 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
This an excellent book. Basically, the whole point of it is to mathematically define what a computer is and prove that it works. The author does this by defining and manipulating mathematical alphabets and languages without resorting to any kind of advanced math. Starting from nothing, the whole thing leads up to Turing Machines. More specifically, according to the Preface, the goals of the book are:

"(1) to introduce a student of Computer Science to the need for and the working of mathematical proof; (2) to develop facility with the concepts, notations, and techniques of the theories of Automata, Formal Languages, and Turing machines; and (3) to provide historical perspective on the creation of the computer with a profound understanding of some of its capabilities and limitations."

The author did a wonderful job of it. Plus, unlike almost all other computer/math books I've read, this book is almost enjoyable to read. Again, as stated in the Preface:

"This book is written for students with no presumed background of any kind. Every mathematical concept used is introduced from scratch. Extensive examples and illustrations spell out everything in detail to avoid any possibility of confusion."

Astonishingly, those are all true statements. At a guess, I'd say that almost anyone interested in computers could get through this book without undue stress. To make it more meaningful, I'd suggest (only suggest) prerequisites of having programmed a computer and knowing some discrete math.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is great. It gives a completely different approach to atomata theory and computability than Aho and Ullman's book. The the latter has demostrations from an algebraic point of view, the former gives constructive demostrations which are usually more understandable to me. This is a great introduction to computer theory and I would recommend it instead of Aho's book as a first encounter with these themes.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Christoffer on June 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. I read the first edition many years ago, and it too was great. Everything is explained in order, and explained well - it is very accessable, even to the casual reader interested in the topics presented. It was through this book that I was able to actually write software that demonstrated Kleene's Theorem, (RE=NFA=DFA) converting between Regular Expressions, NFA's and DFA's.
Unlike many textbooks, reading this one is actually FUN. By the time I was done, I felt that I understood everything that was presented. That's how good this text is.
// CHRIS (Darien, Connecticut)
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By G. Avvinti on February 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
The book has one important attribute: it's clear, undoubtedly. Having a minimum of prerequisites, I think there's no way to not understand what Prof. Cohen says through its pages. It makes the job of learning this part of theory easier than any other text.
But ... but I can't totally agree with Cohen's crusade against formalism. I agree that the first target of a book should be to clearly transmit the intended knowledge, and Cohen perfectly succeeds in this. But formalism too has its importance, thereafter. A compact and clear formalism helps to communicate efficiently, and moreover unambiguously. Like in mathematics, the first, important thing is to understand. Yet, there's no way for you to efficiently work with math without using any kind of formalism, should it be more or less "standard".
That's it: a very powerful book for a "profound" understanding of the subject; a bit more of natural formalism would make it a "complete" understanding also, and the book a five stars one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jahanzeb Farooq on May 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read it during my undergraduate, it was the course book for the thoery of automata course. More recently when I tried the popular "Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation" by Hopcroft et al. for the purpose of revising the concepts, I realized how great this book is. It is definitely a better book than Hopcroft et al's, with in-depth explanations of all topics, lots of examples and exercises and in a writing style very friendly for the novice readers. Very good work!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eugenia Kroz on March 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best textbooks I've ever read. It is CLEAR in the explanation of abstract theories and explains everything you'll ever need to know about pushdown automata theory, Turing theory, and more. This book is written in a language that can be understood by everybody and if that's not enough contains extremely helpful diagrams.
The only thing that is better than the book is to be in Dr. Cohen's class. Thank you, Dr. Cohen, for the unforgettable experience.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Literally the best Mathematics textbook I have ever used. The author is at once thorough, competent, clear, and entertaining. The book is punctuated by little quips which serve to bring the reader back to the reality of using the mathematics when lengthy sections of symbology arise. This has the nice effect of keeping you grounded in the usefulness of the material when it would be easy to become lost in it's complexity.
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