# Topic #16 – Models of Computation¶

## Finite State Machines/Automata (FSM/FSA)¶

Simple models of computation.

- We can define a very very very very simple computer in terms of
Input

Output

States

- And then we can geek out over how much work this little computer can do
Like, what types of problems this computer can solve.

FSM’s are

**VERY**simple computers.But, just because they’re simple, doesn’t mean we can’t use them

- In fact, these little guys are powerful enough to solve A LOT problems we deal with every day.
Vending Machines

Traffic Lights

Elevators

Locks/Safe

Regular Expressions

Let’s say we want a lock that has the combination

**7, 7, 3**.Here’s a FSM for that lock

Or, we can go the other way and say, given this machine, what input can it accept.

Activity

What input strings can this machine accept? What I mean is, what strings will get this machine to it’s final state.

Think about it this way. Think of how simple the computational system is that is powerful enough to unlock a lock

Computer Scientists like to think about

*what else can a computer this powerful do?*

## Pushdown Automata (PDA) and Context-Free Grammars¶

FSM’s are cool and all, but they can only solve certain types of problems. If we want to solve more

*complex*problems (for lack of a better term), we need a more powerful machine.PDA’s are more

*powerful*computational models- They can solve
**strictly**more problems than FSMs. Anything a FSM can do, a PDA can do

There are a lot of things a PDA can do, that a FSM cannot

- They can solve
PDA’s accept what we call Context-Free Grammars.

Here’s an example of doing the same thing as the 2nd FSM.

S –> aA

S –> bB

A –> aA

A –> b

B –> bB

B –> a

Here, the upper case letters are like special symbols that mean you can replace them in a string with whatever is on the right hand side.

The lower case letters are just letters.

- Start with S
String: ‘S’

- We have two options, let’s go with the first
String: ‘aA’

- We now have an A, so let’s go with the first options
String: ‘aaA’

- Let’s do it again
String: ‘aaaA’

- Let’s do it 4 more times
String: ‘aaaaaaaA’

- Now let’s go with the second option
String: ‘aaaaaaab’

- No more upper case letters, so we’re done.
String: ‘aaaaaaab’

Here’s another one

S –> aSa

S –> bSb

S –>

*epsilon*/ ‘’(

*epsilon*means empty string)

Activity

What strings can this system create? Try to generate a few and see if you can see the big picture on what it’s doing.

Another one

S –> SS

S –> (S)

S –> ()

S –>

*epsilon*/ ‘’

Activity

What strings can this system create? Try to generate a few and see if you can see the big picture on what it’s doing.

## Context-Sensitive Grammars¶

Context matters now

S –> abc

S –> aAbc

Ab –> bA

Ac –> Bbcc

bB -> Bb

aB –> aa

aB –> aaA

## Turing Machines¶

Turing Machines are even more powerful models of computation

*Basically*, the computers we use today are kinda’ like theseThey’re not built like these, but they are as powerful

Can solve the same problems.

- Also, we often say that our brains are
*at least*as powerful as a Turing Machine. *At least*?

- Also, we often say that our brains are