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Santa Fe Institute

Introduction to Computation Theory

Santa Fe Institute via Complexity Explorer


Introduction to Computation Theory is an overview of some basic principles of computation and computational complexity, with an eye towards things that might actually be useful without becoming a researcher. Students will examine the formal mathematics for foundational computation proofs, as well as gain tools to analyze hard computational problems themselves. 

Students who take this course should have basic knowledge of the principles of graphs. Some tutorial material references linear algebra, but familiarity is not necessary. This tutorial uses proofs, and requires understandings of formal math notations.



  1. What is an algorithm?
  2. Absolute Limitations on Algorithms
  3. Resource limitations on algorithms
  4. Types of Algorithms
  5. P versus NP
  6. An algorithmic perspective on complex systems
  7. Algorithms for NP-hard problems in the real world
  8. Randomized algorithms and derandomization
  9. Homework


Taught by

Josh Grochow


5.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

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  • Anonymous
    Great refresher of computation theory!

    The instructor, Dr Josh Grochow explains some of the most important concepts of computation theory in a straightforward way. He gives a big picture explanation without skipping subtle but important details.

    Highly recommended for anyone looking for a refresher or an introduction (with basic understanding of algorithms and mathematical proofs) to theory of computation.
  • Anonymous
    I most definitely recommend this course.
    I’m well satisfied to be a part of. I’m still studying and learning all kinds of great stuff.

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