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finite automata

by MZSanford (Curate)
on Oct 04, 2001 at 14:31 UTC ( #116669=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This is just a simple question, made to provoke thought (so, Meditations seems like a good place) ...

What Perl instructor is assinging finite automata problems ?

and does he know where all of the work is comming from

    I don't usually complain about homew(ork|reck)ers, but i am simply stunned by the number of questions on "finite automata". I would guess people agree by the flaming posts i see in the replies, but i think i am going to take another road, and simply not reply to posts which are on "finite automata", or whatever the homework-of-the-day is. So, rather than flame, i suggest a good olde fasioned -- and no replies. After awhile, i would guess the home work questions (the obvious ones anyway) will go away.
"They shall not overcome. Whoever told them that the truth shall set them free was obviously and grossly unfamiliar with federal law."
    -- John Ashcroft

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Re: finite automata
by pjf (Curate) on Oct 04, 2001 at 17:13 UTC
    I have an assignment to write on finite automata, and was told that perlmonks was a good place to start. I tried posting a few questions, but someone called NodeReaper kills removing them.

    Since you seem to know a lot about finite automata, perhaps you can help me? This is really urgent, as the assignment is due tomorrow, and the dog ate my textbook.

    You guys have been so helpful. One of your users provided me with some source code that does exactly what I want. The only problem is that it uses Quantum::Superposition to read the file without looking at it, and the rest of it seems to be written in Latin. This is just great, except I skipped all my latin classes and copied off my friend for the final assignment, so I was wondering if anyone knows the latin word for print?

    Please remember this is URGENT!!!!! I have to have the assignment in tomorrow otherwise I'll fail.

    Thanks again for all your help,


      Aliens are attacking the military base where I work part time as a coffee machine repair man's assistant, and I need to write a perl script to automate all the bases defenses to repel the invaders.

      I'm pretty comfortable with perl, but since the mainframe was one of the first things the aliens took out, I have to build another one, using three coffee makers, a mop, half a dozen paper clips, and my mediocre knowledge of electronic hardware.

      Please help me save the planet!


        To late, elbie. I'm afraid to say that all your base is now, as they say, belong to us.

        George Sherston
        Wait! I saw that one. That was the one where MacGyver....


      Around and around we go . . . check out this node from the past: I need answers QUICKLY!. Funny stuff!

          A flute with no holes is not a flute . . .
      a doughnut with no holes is a danish.
                                      - Basho,
                                        famous philosopher
Re: finite automata - Progress
by davorg (Chancellor) on Oct 04, 2001 at 17:06 UTC

    Ok, I'm told (by someone who emailed me for help with the same program) that it's coursework for the "Theory of Computation" unit from the BSc in Computer Science from Oxford University (so at least we're being spamming by the cream of British Academia!)

    The page for that course is here. One slight discrepancy tho' - Oxford doesn't give BScs - it only gives BAs.

    Where do we go from here?


    "The first rule of Perl club is you don't talk about Perl club."

      One option would be to actually help the students and send a bill to Oxford (payable to the Offering Plate, of course)


      Highly unlikely: Oxford's term isn't going to start until this coming Sunday, so we've not had any freshers around until today. If my experience is anything to go by (I know many people on the course), they'll just ask each other, or nearby passing strangers.

      And the problem's to simple for the course, anyway. (When I started it, many years ago, day one consisted of "Here's the OpenWindows user guide and manual pages. You can figure it out from there!"

        Hmm... that does sound a bit strange then. But I've now been given a name for the lecturer, so I'll get in touch with him.

        Update: Ok, so the lecturer didn't know the student or the coursework. So I investigated a little further. The email I received came from a Yahoo address, but the header listed the IP address that it came from. This is in range owned by the University of Zimbabwe in Harare. I've now got in touch with their Computer Science department and am waiting for a reply.

        virtualsue has just pointed out that the node on top of the Worst nodes list asks exactly the same question. And it was posted at the same time last year. Coincidence?

        Update 2: I've just heard back from Dr Rose Shumba, the chair of the Computer Science at the University of Zimbabwe. She's on sabbatical in the US, but is very interested in the information and will pass it on to the acting chair to take appropriate action.


        "The first rule of Perl club is you don't talk about Perl club."

Re: finite automata
by VSarkiss (Monsignor) on Oct 05, 2001 at 00:42 UTC

    I have a guess about this. Nobody in the CB seemed to bite, so I'll repeat it here. ;-)

    The setting
    A computer science class going over FSA's.
    Could either be theory (Computability, Theory of Computation) or, more likely, Compilers.

    Professor: Finite state machines have many practical uses. One of them is for lexical analysis of a regular language. As a matter of fact, regular expressions are usually implemented as FSMs.
    Student: Excuse me, are regular expressions used anywhere for real?
    Professor: Absolutely. There are Unix programs that use them for searching files. Those of you who know Perl know that they are built-in; they're first-order objects in the programming language. That makes it very easy to write tiny lexers quickly. There's the bell. Here is your homework, due in a week.


    Student: "Design a finite-state machine for a language that ..." ACK! I can't handle this. What did he say about Perl? Let's see....
    ..., "finite automata questions perl" (Try it!)
    ... Hmm... Wha? Jackpot!
    ... Lessee, where's that stupid question? I bet I get an answer in no time...

    And the rest you already know.

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[atcroft]: james28909: What about October 5, 1582?
[stevieb]: atcroft: "Make both hands into fists..."... is something my Ma taught me in our native lang, but I was to ignorant and young to pay attention. Thanks for that :)
[atcroft]: stevieb: Sad to say that I only recently learned that particular trick, but I have since found it very useful.... :)
[james28909]: ill be back with a solution eventually
[stevieb]: it's a reminder to re-inforce it :P
[atcroft]: james28909: That particular questions was a bit of trick, actually (depending on the country you are in). More interesting is, if you are trying to subtract from an epoch time, for instance, you might have to consider when/if DST occurs for a location,
[atcroft]: because you may have to adjust the number of seconds you change from an epoch from 86400 (not to mention leap seconds)....
[atcroft]: james28909: Although if your program is using a database, you might be able to "pass the buck" to the database and ask it to do the date change for you....

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