© 2009

Models of Computation

An Introduction to Computability Theory

  • Provides an in-depth analysis of the basic concepts underlying the models of computation that underpin the most well-known families of programming languages


Part of the Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science book series (UTICS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XI
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Maribel Fernández
      Pages 1-7
  3. Traditional Models of Computation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Maribel Fernández
      Pages 11-32
    3. Maribel Fernández
      Pages 33-53
    4. Maribel Fernández
      Pages 55-68
    5. Maribel Fernández
      Pages 69-89
  4. Modern Models of Computation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 91-91
    2. Maribel Fernández
      Pages 93-105
    3. Maribel Fernández
      Pages 107-130
    4. Maribel Fernández
      Pages 131-149
    5. Maribel Fernández
      Pages 151-157
    6. Maribel Fernández
      Pages 159-178
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 179-184

About this book


An Introduction to Computability Theory provides an introduction to the essential concepts in computability, using several models of computation, from Turing machines to the modern computation models inspired by quantum physics. It is addressed to advanced undergraduate students, as a complement to programming courses, or to postgraduate students interested in foundations of computation and the theory of computability.

There are two parts in the book. The first highlights the traditional models of computation used in the first studies on computability:

- Automata and Turing Machines;

- Recursive functions and the Lambda-Calculus;

- Logic-based computation models.

The second part covers object-oriented and interaction-based models, and includes a chapter on concurrency and a chapter on emergent models of computation inspired by quantum mechanics and systems biology.

At the end of each chapter there is a list of exercises, solutions to selected exercises are provided in the final chapter of the book. The book gives an in-depth analysis of the basic concepts underlying each model of computation. It privileges the understanding of the basic techniques and their relationships over simply describing their properties.


Action Turing automata computability theory design programming programming language

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. Computer Science StrandKing’s College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom WC2R 2LS

Bibliographic information

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From the reviews:

"The focus of this relatively short book is on newer object-oriented and interaction-oriented models, including recent work in quantum computing and systems biology. … the book is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. … Each chapter starts by clearly indicating what will be covered and ends with a series of exercises. … the book as a whole is extremely well written. Definitions are clearly stated … . Each model of computation is precisely defined, and the examples are clear and to the point." (K. Harrow, ACM Computing Reviews, September, 2009)

“It is a pleasure to see a book which takes a different approach to computer theory. … This short book can be used for a one-term course … . A valuable primer for students of programming languages. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and graduate students.” (P. Cull, Choice, Vol. 47 (3), November, 2009)