This course introduces the broader discipline of computer science to people having basic familiarity with Java programming. It covers the second half of our book Computer Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach (the first half is covered in our Coursera course Computer Science: Programming with a Purpose, to be released in the fall of 2018). Our intent is to demystify computation and to build awareness about the substantial intellectual underpinnings and rich history of the field of computer science.
First, we introduce classic algorithms along with scientific techniques for evaluating performance, in the context of modern applications. Next, we introduce classic theoretical models that allow us to address fundamental questions about computation, such as computability, universality, and intractability. We conclude with machine architecture (including machine-language programming and its relationship to coding in Java) and logic design (including a full CPU design built from the ground up).
The course emphasizes the relationships between applications programming, the theory of computation, real computers, and the field's history and evolution, including the nature of the contributions of Boole, Shannon, Turing, von Neumann, and others.
All the features of this course are available for free. No certificate will be offered upon completion.

From the lesson

INTRODUCTION TO THE THEORY OF COMPUTING

The theory of computing helps us address fundamental questions about the nature of computation while at the same time helping us better understand the ways in which we interact with the computer. In this lecture, we introduce formal languages and abstract machines, focusing on simple models that are actually widely useful in practical applications.