Interest in finite automata theory continues to grow, not only because of its applications in computer science, but also because of more recent applications in mathematics, particularly group theory and symbolic dynamics. The subject itself lies on the boundaries of mathematics and computer science, and with a balanced approach that does justice to both aspects, this book provides a well-motivated introduction to the mathematical theory of finite automata.
The first half of Finite Automata focuses on the computer science side of the theory and culminates in Kleene's Theorem, which the author proves in a variety of ways to suit both computer scientists and mathematicians. In the second half, the focus shifts to the mathematical side of the theory and constructing an algebraic approach to languages. Here the author proves two main results: Schützenberger's Theorem on star-free languages and the variety theorem of Eilenberg and Schützenberger.
Accessible even to students with only a basic knowledge of discrete mathematics, this treatment develops the underlying algebra gently but rigorously, and nearly 200 exercises reinforce the concepts. Whether your students' interests lie in computer science or mathematics, the well organized and flexible presentation of Finite Automata provides a route to understanding that you can tailor to their particular tastes and abilities.
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Lawson (University College of North Wales)Review:
"Lawson's book is well written, self-contained, and quite extensive. The material is fully explained, with many examples fully discussed, and with many and varied exercises. Students using this book will get a broad education in finite-automata theory." - SIAM Review "[This book] is a nice textbook intended for an undergraduate lecture. All presented results are illustrated by many simple examples. The book is self-contained and easy to read. It can be recommended as a textbook for undergraduate lectures about finite automata." - EMS Newsletter
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