Monday, March 29, 2004

Opening Day

Today starts the spring quarter at the University of Chicago and I start teaching undergraduate complexity. Many of the most beautiful concepts in theory get taught in the course: The Church-Turing thesis, universal Turing machines and undecidability, the P versus NP problem and much more.

Today's students have an understanding of computers that come from exposure at an early age that I cannot imagine. Still you cannot truly view computer science as a science until you learn its mathematical foundations. This course gives that foundation and uses it to pose (and sometimes answer) many basic questions: What is a computer? What can we compute? What can we compute quickly?

As computers become more and more part of our daily lives, these basic questions take on greater importance and I'm excited, as always, to tackle them with a new group of students.

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