Questions that ask for help building intuition for formal or complex concepts.

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2
votes
1answer
41 views

Why doesn't a time cutoff convert NP problems into co-NP?

Suppose you have an NP problem, and a polynomial time verifier which accepts valid solutions within f(n) operations. You make a tweak to the verifier program, so ...
3
votes
2answers
109 views

What does it mean to multiply or divide polynomials?

What does it mean to multiply or divide polynomials? I have used them so many times, in error correcting codes, cryptography, etc. but it was never clear to me what would be a graphical ...
2
votes
3answers
432 views

How to tell if a language is recognizable, co-recognizable or decidable?

If you have a language L, without doing any proofs, is there a way to tell if it's recognizable or co-recognizable or decidable? Basically any hints or tricks that can be used to tell. Or maybe the ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the characteristics of an $O(n \log n)$ time complexity algorithm?

Sometimes it's easy to identify the time complexity of an algorithm my examining it carefully. Algorithms with two nested loops of $N$ are obviously $N^2$. Algorithms that explore all the possible ...
2
votes
2answers
238 views

Intuition for convolution in image processing

I have read many documents about convolution in image processing, and most of them say about its formula, some additional parameters. No one explains the intuition and real meaning behind doing ...
11
votes
3answers
221 views

Why larger input sizes imply harder instances?

Below, assume we're working with an infinite-tape Turing machine. When explaining the notion of time complexity to someone, and why it is measured relative to the input size of an instance, I ...
6
votes
4answers
326 views

Is it intuitive to see that finding a Hamiltonian path is not in P while finding Euler path is?

I am not sure I see it. From what I understand, edges and vertices are complements for each other and it is quite surprising that this difference exists. Is there a good / quick / easy way to see ...
7
votes
3answers
475 views

How to feel intuitively that a language is regular

Given a language $ L= \{a^n b^n c^n\}$, how can I say directly, without looking at production rules, that this language is not regular? I could use pumping lemma but some guys are saying just looking ...
8
votes
1answer
114 views

Turing Recognisable => enumerable

I get the proof of going from an enumerator to a Turing Machine (keep running enumerator and see if it matches input) but I don't see how the other way works. According to my notes and the book ...
11
votes
2answers
763 views

Rule of thumb to know if a problem could be NP-complete

This question was inspired by a comment on StackOverflow. Apart from knowing NP-complete problems of the Garey Johnson book, and many others; is there a rule of thumb to know if a problem looks like ...
0
votes
1answer
518 views

Why is $L= \{ 0^n 1^n | n \geq 1 \}$ not regular language?

I'm looking for intuition about when a language is regular and when it is not. For example, consider: $$ L = \{ 0^n 1^n \mid n \geq 1 \} = \{ 01, 0011, 000111, \ldots \}$$ which is not a regular ...
44
votes
7answers
2k views

Intuition for logarithmic complexity

I believe I have a reasonable grasp of complexities like $\mathcal{O}(1)$, $\Theta(n)$ and $\Theta(n^2)$. In terms of a list, $\mathcal{O}(1)$ is a constant lookup, so it's just getting the head of ...
14
votes
4answers
388 views

Strategies for becoming unstuck in understanding TCS

I am a graduate student taking a course in theory of computation and I have serious trouble producing content once I'm asked to. I'm able to follow the textbook (Introduction to the Theory of ...