I have a guess about this. Nobody in the CB seemed to bite, so I'll repeat it here. ;-)
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....
... www.google.com, "finite automata questions perl"
... 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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