The theme of this book is formed by a pair of concepts: the concept of formal language as carrier of the precise expression of meaning, facts and problems, and the concept of algorithm or calculus, i.e. a formally operating procedure for the solution of precisely described questions and problems.
The book is a unified introduction to the modern theory of these concepts, to the way in which they developed first in mathematical logic and computability theory and later in automata theory, and to the theory of formal languages and complexity theory. Apart from considering the fundamental themes and classical aspects of these areas, the subject matter has been selected to give priority throughout to the new aspects of traditional questions, results and methods which have developed from the needs or knowledge of computer science and particularly of complexity theory.
It is both a textbook for introductory courses in the above-mentioned disciplines as well as a monograph in which further results of new research are systematically presented and where an attempt is made to make explicit the connections and analogies between a variety of concepts and constructions.