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The Theoretical Computer Science Group

at the

Institute of Mathematical Sciences

CIT Campus, Chennai 600113 Preparing for JEST (Theoretical Computer Science): Information for candidates This information material contains 1. Academic information on preparing for JEST, including a set of Sample Questions. 2. A small information brochure about The Institute of Mathematical Sciences. For more details visit our website Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST) is a preliminary screening test conducted jointly by several premier research institutes. Among these institutes, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai is the only one that oers a Ph.D. programme in Theoretical Computer Science. The JEST screening test for entrance to the PhD programme in theoretical computer science will be held typically on a Sunday in the middle of February every year. The test focusses on the following areas: Analytical Reasoning and Deduction, Combinatorics, Data Structures and Algorithms, Discrete Mathematics, Graph Theory, Principles of Programming. In each of these areas, familiarity with the basics (including the necessary simple mathematics) is assumed. There are questions of both types some requiring short answers as well as some involving detailed problem solving. A sample questionnaire is attached. Some textbooks which may help you prepare for the test are listed below. You dont need to read all the books. There is no specied portion for the test; rather, the test is designed to check the applicants understanding of foundational aspects of computing. Suggested texts 1. Elements of Discrete Mathematics, C.L. Liu 2. Discrete Mathematical Structures with Applications to Computer Science, Jean-Paul Tremblay and Ram P. Manohar 3. Compilers: Principles, Techniques and Tools, Alfred V. Aho, Ravi Sethi and Jerey D. Ullman 4. Fundamentals of Data Structures, Ellis Horowitz and Sartaj Sahni 5. An Introduction to Data Structures with Applications, Jean-Paul Tremblay and P.G. Sorenson

6. Fundamentals of Computer Algorithms, Ellis Horowitz, Sartaj Sahni and S. Rajasekaran 7. The Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms, Alfred V. Aho, John E. Hopcroft and Jerey D. Ullman 8. Introduction to Algorithms, Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson and Ronald L. Rivest 9. How to solve it by computer, R.G. Dromey 10. Programming Languages, Concepts and Constructs, Ravi Sethi

Sample Questions for Joint Entrance Screening Test

Subject: Theoretical Computer Science

1. Select the correct alternative in each of the following: (a) Let a and b be positive integers such that a > b and a2 b2 is a prime number. Then a2 b2 is equal to (A) a b (B) a + b (C) a b (D) none of the above (b) When is the following statement true? (A B) C = A C (A) If A B C = (B) If A B C = (C) always (D) never (c) If a fair die (with 6 faces) is cast twice, what is the probability that the two numbers obtained dier by 2? (A) 1/12 (B) 1/6 (C) 2/9 (D) 1/2 (d) T (n) = T (n/2) + 2; T (1) = 1 When n is a power of 2, the correct expression for T (n) is: (A) 2(log n + 1) (B) 2 log n (C) log n + 1 2. Consider the following function, dened by a recursive program: function AP(x,y: integer) returns integer; if x = 0 then return y+1 else if y = 0 then return AP(x-1,1) else return AP(x-1, AP(x,y-1)) (a) Show that on all nonnegative arguments x and y, the function AP terminates. (b) Show that for any x, AP(x, y) > y. 3. How many subsets of even cardinality does an n-element set have ? Justify answer. 4. A tournament is a directed graph in which there is exactly one directed edge between every pair of vertices. Let Tn be a tournament on n vertices. (a) Use induction to prove the following statement: Tn has a directed hamiltonian path (a directed path that visits all vertices). (b) Describe an algorithm that nds a directed hamiltonian path in a given tournament. Do not write whole programs; pseudocode, or a simple description of the steps in the algorithm, will suce. What is the worst case time complexity of your algorithm?


2 log n + 1

5. Describe two dierent data structures to represent a graph. For each such representation, specify a simple property about the graph that can be more eciently checked in that representation than in the other representation. Indicate the worst case time required for verifying both of your properties in either representation. 6. Two gamblers have an argument. The rst one claims that if a fair coin is tossed repeatedly, getting two consecutive heads is very unlikely. The second, naturally, is denying this. They decide to settle this by an actual trial; if, within n coin tosses, no two consecutive heads turn up, the rst gambler wins. (a) What value of n should the second gambler insist on to have more than a 50% chance of winning? (b) In general, let P (n) denote the probability that two consecutive heads show up within n trials. Write a recurrence relation for P (n). (c) Implicit in the second gamblers stand is the claim that for all suciently large n, there is a good chance of getting two consecutive heads in n trials; i.e. P (n) > 1/2. In the rst part of this question, one such n has been demonstrated. What happens for larger values of n? Is it true that P (n) only increases with n? Justify your answer. 7. Consider the following program: function mu(a,b:integer) returns integer; var i,y: integer; begin ---------P---------i = 0; y = 0; while (i < a) do begin --------Q-----------y := y + b ; i = i + 1 end return y end Write a condition P such that the program terminates, and a condition Q which is true whenever program execution reaches the place marked Q above.


4th Cross Road, C.I.T. Campus, Taramani, CHENNAI - 600 113,TAMILNADU, INDIA. Telephone: (044) 2254 1856, 2254 3100 Fax: (044) 2254 1586 E-mail: URL:

The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, (IMSc), founded in 1962, is a National Institution of higher learning which promotes fundamental research of high quality in frontier disciplines of Mathematical Sciences. It is an autonomous Institute funded by the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India and by the Government of Tamil Nadu. The Institute counts several distinguished scientists of international repute among its faculty. The three major areas of research at the Institute are: Mathematics Theoretical Computer Science Theoretical Physics

Academic Programmes
Areas of Research
Mathematics: Algebraic and Analytic Number Theory, Complex Analysis, Dierential Ge-

ometry, Algebraic Geometry, Algebra, Algebraic Topology, Functional Analysis, Harmonic Analysis, Operator Algebras, Dierential Equations, Probability Theory.
Theoretical Computer Science: Algorithms and Data Structures, Automata Theory, Com-

putational Complexity, Distributed Computing, Finite Model Theory, Graph Theory and Combinatorics, Logics of Programs and Semantics.
Theoretical Physics: Condensed Matter Physics and Statistical Mechanics, High Energy

Physics, Mathematical Physics, Nonlinear Dynamics, Optics and Beam Physics.

M.Sc. & Ph.D. Programmes

The Institute oers Ph.D. programmes in Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science and Theoretical Physics for students who wish to do quality research in these disciplines. Students with M.Sc./M.E./M.Tech. in related disciplines (with a minimum of 50% marks in aggregate) may apply for these programmes in response to the newspaper advertisement which appears in late October/early November of each year.

The Institute also oers M.Sc. (by research) degree (jointly with Anna University) in the three disciplines above, as part of an integrated Ph.D. programme, for students with B.Sc./B.E./B.Tech. degrees in related disciplines and a minimum of 60% marks in aggregate. All selected students receive fellowships of Rs. 8,000/- per month for the rst two years and Rs. 9,000/- per month thereafter, in addition to rent-free hostel accommodation (or house rent allowance if they prefer to stay elsewhere), a contingency grant of Rs. 7,500/per year for purchasing relevant books and travelling to approved conferences, and medical benets. Students who will complete their nal examinations by July are also eligible to apply. Selection of such students will be treated as provisional, and the position of Junior Research Fellow will be conrmed upon fullling the minimum marks requirement stipulated above. Selection: The process of selection for Ph.D. programmes in Theoretical Computer Science and Theoretical Physics is based on a Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST) conducted around February, in collaboration with several National Institutes, at examination centres situated throughout India. This qualifying examination is followed by an interview held at the Institute. Candidates for Ph.D in Physics also have the option of using the results of the UGC-CSIR NET JRF exam. Candidates for Ph.D in Mathematics must apply for the Research Awards of the National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM) and appear for that screening test (which is expected to be held on the last Saturday of February 2006).

Post-Doctoral Fellowships
Candidates with a Ph.D. degree and a proven aptitude for research are oered Post-Doctoral Fellowships tenable for a period of one/two years. There are about ten post-doctoral fellows working in the Institute at any given time.

The Institute has an Associateship Programme in Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science, and Theoretical Physics for College and University teachers. This programme encourages collaborations between members of the Institute and scientists in the University system. An Associate can visit the Institute once or twice a year, staying up to a total of 90 days in any given year, with each visit lasting not less than three weeks. The tenure of the Associateship is for a period of three years and each Associate is required to make at least two visits in this period. The Institute provides the Associate accommodation in the

Guest-House and supports local expenses and travel between the Associates place of work and Chennai.

Visiting Scientists Scheme

Front-ranking scientists from all over the world visit the Institute frequently. Over the years the Institute has been privileged to have several Nobel Laureates and Fields Medalists among its visitors. Long-term visitors may stay either in the Guest House or in atlets which are provided with kitchenettes.

Graduate Visitors Programme

This programme is envisaged as a part of the Institutes commitment towards strengthening its interaction with the University system. Graduate students who have already registered for their Ph.D. with any University may apply. Under this programme, a Graduate Visitor may periodically visit the IMSc during the period of his/her studentship. The length and frequency of visits will be decided on a case-by-case basis. It is expected that during the visit, the student will be attached to a specic faculty member at IMSc and will take part in a research project worked out jointly with the students adviser in his/her parent University.

Summer Students Programme

Students studying for a Masters degree or completing the penultimate year towards a Bachelors degree can apply for a 4 to 8 week summer students programme at IMSc. The programme involves project work at IMSc under the guidance of a faculty member of the Institute. Overview lectures on frontline topics are also arranged.

Academic Meetings
Besides regular Seminar/Colloquium activities by the members of the Institute and the Visiting Scientists, Workshops/Symposia/Conferences in various elds are organized frequently by the Institute. Conference participants come from all over India and abroad, and are housed in the Institute Guest-House complex. The Institute is part of the Theoretical Physics Seminar Circuit (TPSC) programme, under which scientists can visit leading research centres in India and lecture on their work. IMSc actively participates in Advanced Schools such as those conducted by the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Board for Higher

Mathematics (NBHM). The Institute actively encourages its members to collaborate with scientists elsewhere.

Campus Facilities
Located in South Chennai, the Institute is housed within the Central Institutes of Technology (C.I.T.) Campus. Being in the Adyar-Taramani area, the Institute enjoys the convenience of the metropolitan city and is yet withdrawn from the bustle of the city centre. A new centrally air-conditioned oce and lecture-hall complex together with a 200-seat state-ofthe-art auditorium is now in operation. Across the street from the main academic building complex of the Institute is a modern Hostel & Guest-House complex with an in-house catering facility. The Institute has its own faculty housing in South Chennai near the seashore.

The Institute has a well-equipped, air-conditioned, computerized library on campus. Leading international journals in the relevant areas of research are subscribed to. The library receives preprints/reprints/reports from numerous research centres and laboratories worldwide. The Institute also hosts the Indian mirror site for the Los Alamos E-Print Archive for Physics, Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, which provides instant access to research eprints via the internet. The Institute library also functions as a Regional Library for students and researchers working in Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science and Theoretical Physics.

The computer system at IMSc incorporates the very latest in hardware and software. Currently, the distributed computer network has several SunSparc workstations and Pentiums which serve as general-purpose machines, dedicated number crunchers and advanced graphics machines including the 4 cpu R 8000 Power Challenge L, a 4 cpu R10000 Origin, a few Ultra Sparc and Sun Blade 1000 machines. It is powered by a Sun Enterprise 2-cpu RAID le server. All faculty and doctoral student oces have access stations, either Pentiums or X-terms. IMSc also has a 16 node Pentium-II Linux cluster for parallel computing. In addition, software packages such as MACSYMA, Mathematica, MatLab, MAPLE, IMSL and FORM, among others, are available. Many access stations and peripherals ensure easy usability for various applications. The network is connected to the internet via a 2Mbps VSNL link.