« August 2021 »
You are here: Home Teaching Summer Term 2021 Automata Theory (Proseminar)
Document Actions

Automata Theory (Proseminar)

In the lecture about theoretical computer science you have seen finite automata, pushdown automata and Turing machines. All three of them operate on finite words. However there are other automata models and automata that do not operate on finite words, but e.g. on infinite words, on nested words, on trees, etc. In this proseminar we will have a look at automata models that you have not seen in the lecture on theoretical computer science as well as on related topics.

Course type Proseminar
Instructors Prof. Dr. Andreas Podelski,
Tanja Schindler (contact person for organisational matters)
members of the software engineering group
Kick-off meeting
Friday, 23rd of April 2021, 12:00
BigBlueButton in the Ilias system
Regular meetings (talks)
Friday 12:00 - 14:00 (see schedule below)
Presentation language
Course Catalog Klassische Themen der Automatentheorie (Proseminar)
 Ilias Course
Klassische Themen der Automatentheorie


  • May 21: Reviews assigned.
  • May 04: Topic assignment and schedule published.
  • April 23: Deadline for sending an email with your three (or more) favorite topics: Wednesday, April 28, 2012, 12:00 noon.
  • April 23: Available topics added.
  • April 16: Kick-off meeting announced, Ilias course added.
  • April 13, 2021: Webpage online. Please make sure to check for updates before April 18.

Process of the seminar

  • You participate in the kick-off meeting, where we present the available topics.
  • You contact the instructors to obtain a topic. You may suggest three of the available topics and provide a priorization for each topic.
  • You have a meeting with your supervisor in which we discuss relevant literature and develop a very coarse sketch of your talk (deadline: four weeks before your talk).
  • You write a proposal in which you explain what you are going to present in your talk. You submit your proposal via email to your supervisor (deadline: three weeks before your talk).
  • You have a meeting with your supervisor in which you get feedback for your proposal (deadline: two weeks before your talk).
  • Your proposal is reviewed by two other participants.
  • You write two reviews about other participants' proposals and send them via email to the supervisor (deadline: one week after you received the proposal).
  • You receive reviews for your proposal (deadline: two weeks before your talk).
  • You submit your slides together with an abstract of your talk via email to your supervisor (deadline: one week before your talk).
  • You have a meeting with your supervisor in which you get feedback for your slides.
  • You give a talk of 25 minutes.
  • You attend the talks of all other participants.

Proposals of the talk

The proposal should consist of around five pages in which you explain what you are going to present in your talk. The proposal should contain at least:

  • short overview for the reviewers (the reviewers will probably not know your topic)
  • structure of your talk
  • aspects of the topic that you present (why?) and ignore (why?)
  • examples occurring in the talk (why these examples? Is there a running example that can be used for demonstration?)
  • which definitions are presented formally? (why?), which definitions are just mentioned informally? (why?)
  • which notation is used? (why?)
  • which theorems are presented, which of them will be proven (why?), which proofs will be omitted (why?), will you use motivating examples in the proof?

Abstract of the talk

  • The abstract consists of one paragraph that summarizes what you present in the talk.
  • We will send an invitation for the seminar to all students and members of our chair. This invitation contains the abstracts of all talks.

The talk

  • The goal of your talk is that the audience (bachelor and master students, familiar with computer science in general, probably no experts in the topic) has the possibility to learn something new about an interesting topic. How well you achieved this goal will determine the grade of your talk.
  • In a seminar you have to show that you are able to present some topic to other people. You do not have to show how well you understood the topic for yourself. How well you understood the topic has no direct influence on your grade, but only how well you presented the topic to the audience.
  • You may use and copy any source of information (but do not forget to cite it). If you think your talk is just a "remix" of existing talks tailored to your audience, you might have done a great job. But do not let yourself be fooled by well-structured and fancy talks found in the web, each talk was prepared to a specific audience.

Review of the proposal

  • Give a short summary of the talk based on the proposal (to detect misunderstandings right at the start).
  • Be generous with your criticism. It is very unlikely that a student will get a bad grade because you revealed some problems in his/her proposal. However, it is very likely that a student will get a better grade if he/she was able to resolve a problem in his/her talk, thanks to your review.
  • Give reasons for your criticism (e.g., "It is not possible to understand Lemma 2 because term foo was not explained.").  You are also allowed to give your personal opinions, if you do so mark them as such (e.g., "Theorem 1 is very difficult to understand, in my opinion you should give an example first.").
  • The following questions might be helpful to write your review
Is the proposal sufficiently well written to be readable?
Is the appearance and structure of the proposal appropriate?
Is the comprehensibility of the talk supported by relevant examples and figures?
Is the proposed structure of the talk sensible and balanced?
Are all propositions made by the author correct?
Is the line of reasoning concerning the presentation complete and accurate?
Has the author argued his/her case effectively?
Does the author use the common notation and terminology? Where would you suggest something different?
Is the schedule of the author sensible? Do you think the talk will fit into the time slot?


Your overall grade will be composed according to the following proportion.

  • 10% grade of your proposal
  • 20% grade of your reviews
  • 70% grade of your talk

Topics & literature

The topics of the proseminar are based on the book Automatentheorie und Logik by Hofmann and Lange. The book is available via the university network (e.g., via vpn). If you have problems accessing the literature, please contact us.

Schwache Monadische Logik zweiter Stufe

  • Talk: Natalie
  • Supervisor: Frank Schüssele
  • Reviewers: Marius, Rico
  • Time Slot: A
  • Literature: Chapter 2

Alternierende Endliche Automaton

  • Talk: Daniel
  • Supervisor: Tanja Schindler
  • Reviewers: Lena, Mürsel
  • Time Slot: A
  • Literature: Chapter 3

Sternfreie Sprachen

  • Talk: Marius
  • Supervisor: Andreas Podelski
  • Reviewers: Mürsel, Hannes
  • Time Slot: B
  • Literature: Chapter 4

Automaten auf unendlichen Wörtern

  • Talk: Rico
  • Supervisor: Vincent Langenfeld
  • Reviewers: Lena, Quoc Huy
  • Time Slot: B
  • Literature: Chapter 5

Komplementierung von Büchi-Automaten

  • Talk: Lena
  • Supervisor: Andreas Podelski
  • Reviewers: Quoc Huy, Michael
  • Time Slot: C
  • Literature: Chapter 6

Weitere Akzeptanzbedingungen

  • Talk: Mürsel
  • Supervisor: Frank Schüssele
  • Reviewers: Hannes, Arthur
  • Time Slot: C
  • Literature: Chapter 7

Entscheidungsverfahren für ω-Automaten

  • Talk: Hannes
  • Supervisor: Andreas Podelski
  • Reviewers: Natalie, Daniel
  • Time Slot: D
  • Literature: Chapter 9

Linearzeit-Temporale Logik

  • Talk: Quoc Huy
  • Supervisor: Vincent Langenfeld
  • Reviewers: Arthur, Michael
  • Time Slot: D
  • Literature: Chapter 11

Automaten auf endlichen Bäumen

  • Talk: Arthur
  • Supervisor: Tanja Schindler
  • Reviewers: Natalie, Marius
  • Time Slot: E
  • Literature: Chapter 12

Anwendungen von Baumautomaten

  • Talk: Michael
  • Supervisor: Tanja Schindler
  • Reviewers: Daniel, Rico
  • Time Slot: E
  • Literature: Chapter 13


Each topic/talk has a group letter assigned. We have five groups in total.

The following table contains the deadlines for the groups. Please note that "Review" stands for the review deadline for the specific group's proposals. Each proseminar student has to write reviews for two other students.

Date Outline Proposal Review Slides Talk
21. 05. 2021

28. 05. 2021
Pentecost Break
04. 06. 2021

11. 06. 2021

18. 06. 2021

25. 06. 2021
02. 07. 2021

09. 07. 2021

16. 07. 2021

 23. 07. 2021

Personal tools