CSE3305 Formal methods II - Semester 1 , 2007 unit guide

Semester 1, 2007

Chief Examiner

Kevin Korb


Clayton : Kevin Korb
Malaysia : Mohammed Belkhatir


Information theory: in particular types of codings, entropy, information rate, communication channels. Shannon's noiseless and noisy coding theorems. A review of probability theory. Introduction to the simulation of discrete stochastic processes and Monte Carlo methods. Intractable problems: P, NP, and P-Space complexity classes; Cook's theorem and its application to proving NP-completeness. Approximate solutions to intractable problems.


To make students aware of the theoretical basis of their computing.

To make students aware of the benefits of employing formal methods in their computing.

To introduce students to the limitations of communication channels.

To give students a feeling for the complexity of programs and therefore the resources needed to run them.

On completion of the subject students will have an understanding of elementary information theory, computer simulation techniques, and intractability and the practical implications of limitations inherent in communication channels and the complexity of computation.


Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed prerequisite: CSE2303, Formal Methods I and CSE2304 Algorithms and Data Structures. You should have knowledge of
  • Familiarity with, and experience of, basic aspects of discrete mathematics including, in particular, graphs and induction.
  • Familiarity with and experience of basic aspects of probability and statistics.
  • These are covered in Mathematics units MAT1841 and MAT1830.

    Unit relationships

    CSE3305 is a core unit in the of the Bachelor of Computer Science.

    Texts and software

    Required text(s)

    No books are required.

    Textbook availability

    Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

    Software requirements

    Programming in Java or C, etc may be required for one or more assignments.

    Hardware requirements

    Students studying may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to 2 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

    Recommended reading

  • Adamek, Foundations of coding : theory and applications of error-correcting codes, Chichester ; New York : Wiley, 1991, Hargrave-Andrew Library 003.54 A197F
  • Neapolitan and Naimipour, Foundations of Algorithms, 35d edition. 2004. Hargrave-Andrew Lib reserve.
  • Zbigniew Michalewicz, David B. Fogel, How to solve it : modern heuristics, 2004. Hargrave-Andrew Lib reserve.
  • Roman, Introduction to coding and information theory, New York : Springer, 1997, Hargrave-Andrew Library 005.72 R758.I
  • Roman, Coding and information theory, New York : Springer- Verlag, 1992, Hargrave-Andrew Library 003.54 R758C
  • Jones and Jones, Information and coding theory, London ; New York : Springer, 2000, Hargrave-Andrew Library 003.54 J77.I 2000
  • Ross, Simulation, Sa\n Diego: Academic Press, 2002, Hargrave-Andrew Library Mos 517.13 R826C 2002
  • Garey and Johnson, San Francisco : W. H. Freeman, 1979, Hargrave Library 001.642 G229C
  • Davis, Sigal and Weyuker, Computability, complexity, and languages: fundamentals of theoretical computer science, 2nd. ed., Boston : Academic Press, Harcourt, Brace, 1994, Hargrave-Andrew Library 004.0151 D263C2
  • Sipser, Introduction to the theory of computation, Boston : PWS Pub., 1997, Hargrave-Andrew Library Mos 517.59 S618.I
  • Hopcroft, Motwani and Ullman, Introduction to automata theory, languages, and computation, 2nd ed., Boston : Addison-Wesley, 2001. Hargrave-Andrew Library Mos 511.2 H791.I 2001
  • Library access

    You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

    Study resources

    Study resources for CSE3305 are:

    A workbook is available on-line through MUSO.

    Unit website


    Structure and organisation

    Week Topics Key Dates
    1 Introduction
    2 Analysing Algorithms
    3 Search and Simulation
    4 Probability and Information Assignment 1: 23/3/07
    5 Search Algorithms
    6 Heuristics
    Non teaching week
    7 Randomness
    8 Stochastic Search Assignment 2: 27/4/07
    9 Computer Simulation
    10 Economic Simulations
    11 Computability Assignment 3: 18/5/07
    12 Complexity Theory
    13 Revision


    The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


    Assessment weighting

    30% by assignment; 70% by examination.

    Assessment Policy

    To pass this unit you must:

    Achieve 50 marks out of 100.

    Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

    1 point = 1 mark.

    Assessment Requirements

    Assessment Due Date Weighting
    Assignment 1 TBD 10%
    Assignment 2 TBD 10 %
    Assignment 3 TBD 10 %
    The exam is 3 hours long and is closed book. Exam period (S1/07) starts on 07/06/07 70 %

    Assignment specifications will be made available via MUSO.

    Assignment Submission


    Extensions and late submissions

    Late submission of assignments

    Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of TBD

    This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


    It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

    Requests for extensions must be made to the lecturer in a timely way and for good reasons.

    Grading of assessment

    Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

    Grade Percentage/description
    HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
    In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
    D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
    In the 70-79% range.
    C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
    In the 60-69% range.
    P Pass acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
    In the 50-59% range.
    N Not satisfactory failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
    Below 50%.

    Assignment return

    We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.


    Feedback to you

    You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

    Feedback from you

    You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

    And if you are having problems

    It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

    Unit improvements

    The material in lecture notes and workbook is being substantially restructured.

    The assigned text has been dropped.


    Plagiarism and cheating

    Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

    In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

    When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

    Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

    Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

    Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


    Communication methods

    Email is good, if using your student account. External account mail may be deleted automatically. Discussion groups are in MUSO.


    Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed in MUSO; try Weekly Topics

    Consultation Times

    See MUSO

    If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

    Dr Kevin Korb
    Phone +61 3 990 55198
    Fax +61 3 990 55157

    Ms Robyn Mcnamara

    All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

    Last updated: Feb 26, 2007