Regular Expressions

  • Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut
Part of the Text and Monographs in Computer Science book series (MCS)


In Chapter 2, we discussed grammars as a means of defining languages. In Chapter 1, we mentioned that it seems unreasonable to think that machines with an infinite set of states can be physically realized. In this chapter, we explore the class of languages that can be accepted with finite-state machines, the class of regular languages. We study several ways of defining regular languages (right-linear grammars, transition graphs, regular expressions, and finite-state machines) and show their equivalence. For reasons that are beyond me, the terminology that has developed around these notions is slightly different. For example, one says that a language is “generated” by a grammar, “accepted” by a machine, and “denoted” by a regular expression. I will use all terms (as well as the term “defined”) to mean the same thing.


Equivalence Relation Regular Expression Regular Language Transition Graph Initial Node 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut
    • 1
  1. 1.California Institute of Technology, Computer Science 256-80PasadenaUSA

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