Fall 2003 Course Announcement
22C:2 First Year Seminar -- Computation as Deduction

Instructor: Arthur C. Fleck
Time/place: 1:30-2:20 pm W / B5 & B13 MLH
Prerequisite: 4 years of high school math
Primary text: Programming in Prolog by W. F. Clocksin & C. S. Mellish

Course goals

General description

This seminar explores how computation can be conceived of as logical deduction performed by a computer. The seminar will peruse the elements of precise logical reasoning, and reveal how logical assertions can effectively serve as a computer program. This logic paradigm is adopted in the programming language Prolog whose statements are just logical assertions, and Prolog is the language used in the seminar. Campus computing facilities to enter and execute Prolog programs will first be presented. Students will subsequently read, analyze, and write small Prolog programs in conjunction with the conceptual logical development.

Students will be introduced to a high-level abstraction that provides a strong emphasis on modeling conceptual aspects of computing. The intention is not to establish proficiency in Prolog programming. Rather, the goal is to provide a cornerstone for further development by establishing a vital link between analytical thinking and computer generated solutions to problems. Also, students will become familiar with the use of campus computing facilities and that will be valuable in much of their future university experience.

Course administration

No prior computer programming experience is required for this course. However, the student should have four years of high school mathematics since logical inference is an essential focus of the course.

First the basic computer mechanics must be mastered. Then for several (approximately six) weeks students will analyze one small Prolog project each week, and finally students will have two writing assignments each allotted two weeks time. Students will be given critical commentary on their submissions which will be evaluated with a letter grade. The seminar grade will be a composite of these individual project grades.

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