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Models of Computation and Formal Languages

4.2 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195109832
ISBN-10: 019510983X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A comprehensive, advanced introductory textbook on the theory of computation that can be used on an undergraduate level as well as graduate. The solutions manual and software are welcome additions."--Philip Demp, Rutgers University

Advance praise: "Taylor's work joins a small group of comprehensive yet rigorous, sweeping yet approachable, computer science textbooks. That by itself is a feast, but the dessert is Savoiu's intuitive software that supports almost every chapter by providing working examples, a homework bench, and a model-programming environment." --Benjamin Wells, University of San Francisco

About the Author


R. Gregory Taylor holds degrees from the University of Michigan, New York University, and Columbia University. He is currently chair of the Department of Computer Science at Jersey City State College.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019510983X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195109832
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,582,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The theory of computing can be a difficult subject to master, because of the densely symbolic notation and the mathematical complexity of the concepts. When I was a graduate student preparing for the theory portion of my exams, I remember being dismayed at the choice of textbooks that was available at the time: most simply threw a collection of Greek letters and subscripts at the reader, with little attempt to provide simply-worded explanations that would give the reader an intuition for the concepts.
Now that I am teaching the theory of computing, I want to provide my students with the best textbook I can find.
Two years ago, I was delighted to find R. Gregory Taylor's new book, "Models of Computation and Formal Languages". This is by far one of the most readable theory textbooks I have encountered. One of the features that caught my eye when I first examined the book was that many of the complicated symbolic expressions are accompanied by little explanatory text boxes with arrows that point to a symbol in the expression and explain the symbol that the arrow points to. I do this in class when I am lecturing -- I point to various symbols and explain where they came from, sometimes jotting down notes on the board alongside the symbols -- but this is the first time I have seen this technique in a textbook.
The writing style of the book is also fairly friendly and informal, without compromising mathematical precision.
The coverage of Turing-equivalent computing models is broader than in most introductory theory books; Taylor includes chapters not only on Turing Machines, but also on Recursive Function Theory, Markov Algorithms, Register Machines, Post Systems, and a model of parallel computation.
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Format: Hardcover
I was a bit taken aback by the "reader from United States" who gave this book only one star. The subject is difficult so the book is difficult. The book is as readable as possible given the subject matter. As Albert E. once said, "As simple as possible, but no simpler". This book strikes that balance.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is definitely a well-written book that is worth purchasing if you are looking for comprehensive coverage of the material. Although the subject matter is inherently dense, this book presents it very clearly. Definitions and theorems are offset from the regular text in boxes, and there are many diagrams/illustrations that make it easy to get an intuitive grasp of the concept in question. However, there is certainly no dumbing-down of the material; I was looking for a detailed treatment of the subject that had both breadth and depth and Taylor's book certainly fits the bill. I found the book intellectually challenging, but not to such an extent that it was not useful or practical.

In order to provide a reference for the difficulty of the subject matter, I will give a succinct description of my experience and prior knowledge in the subject area. Before purchasing this book, I was familiar with formal languages in general, within the context of their use in natural language processing by computers and in compiler design. I had worked with regular expressions, finite automata, and formal grammars, and had read some of Chomsky's work. However, I was not familiar with the detailed theory of formal languages presented in the second section of this book, and the rigorous treatment was wonderful. There were also many concepts in the first section that were almost entirely new to me, and these proved both interesting and useful.

Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone studying mathematics or computer science at an advanced level.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's great book
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