This is my first time to be involved in a site beta, and I would like to gauge the community's opinion on this subject.
On StackOverflow (and possibly Math.SE), questions on introductory formal language and automata theory pop up... questions along the lines of "How do I show language L is/isn't regular?", "How do I show language L is/isn't context-free?", "How do you convert a NFA to a DFA?", etc. I assume that questions such as these are unambiguously on-topic here; please correct me if I am mistaken.
Other questions, such as "How do I get a regular expression (regular grammar, context-free grammar, context-sensitive grammar, unrestricted grammar, DFA, NFA, PDA, LBA, TM, etc.) for language L?", are probably also appropriate here, although I suppose these could be construed as programming questions (in a sense, it's sort of equivalent) and therefore more appropriate for StackOverflow. What are the thoughts on this? I feel like this community would be better suited to providing correct and complete answers to such questions.
What about questions regrding normalizing relations in relational database theory? What about questions on proving loop invariants, or asymptotic bounds by induction? EDIT: What about questions from operating systems, such as on the optimality of scheduling policies, dining philosophers, etc.? What about questions from computer architecture, networks, parallel computing, etc. that don't involve programming and don't involve hardware? Perhaps even more interestingly, what about questions on the syntax and semantics of specific real programming languages (i.e., what does the following C code do, and why does it do that? Something from an introductory course on programming language theory). EDIT: For instance, what about the following question, from a CS GRE?
Consider the following Pascal-like program fragment:
var i, j : integer; procedure P(k, m : integer) ; begin k := k - m; m := k + m; k := m - k; end; i := 2; j := 3; P(i, j);
If both parameters to P are passed by reference, what are the values of i and j at the end of the program fragment?
EDIT: Now that I look at the kind of questions I had in mind, I feel like they're more likely to be questions with pseudocode... if the syntax matches that of a particular language, it's probably just a pseudocode convention adopted by the authors. As such, questions specific to real capabilities of real languages are probably not appropriate...
My gut feeling is that all of this should be unambiguously on-topic, with the caveats associated with "homework" questions. I thought I would ask, however, since a lot of that is being asked on StackOverflow and Math.SE.