MA201: Mathematical Logic and Theory of Computation

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MA201: Mathematical Logic and Theory of Computation

Mathematics is about structure, about reasoning, and about modeling.  This course braids these three threads together.  Mathematical logic began as the study of the reasoning used in mathematics, but it turns out to be useful in describing the mathematical concept of structure and in modeling automated reasoningthat is, modeling computation. The logical approach to structure gives an alternate perspective on such other mathematical subjects as combinatorics and abstract algebra.  This, for the most part, is described by the area of model theory, which is the focus of Unit 1. In Unit 2, we will look at modeling computation.  The central fact of these models, from a logical standpoint, is that once we can handle a computation as a definable mathematical object, we can prove that certain computations are impossible.  The most famous such proof is Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, showing that it is impossible to compute truth in a system sufficiently strong to describe natural number arithmetic.

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