Theory of Computation

What Does Theory of Computation Mean?

In computer science, the theory of computation provides a sort of “unified field theory” of how computers work. It uses the elements of automatic theory, computability theory and computational complexity theory to understand the nature of computing problems and how computing operations are performed.

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Techopedia Explains Theory of Computation

Various tools function as part of the theory of computation, including an alphabet which is defined as the finite members of a particular string possibility – and various models such as the Turing model. In general, the theory of computation deals with the efficiency of algorithms and the difficulty of computing problems. The automata approach can evaluate a system on a certain basis of abstraction, where a computability theory may focus more on the mathematics of an algorithm. Using all of the aspects of a collective theory of computation approach, professionals can really dig into what it means to “solve” a particular problem with computation.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.