- In these four lectures and their associated handouts, I will emphasize
concepts, not notation. I will use standard mathematical notation (as
you have seen in the past few lectures) for defining terms. I will
also introduce
a little notation to make state machine descriptions easier to read.
Later in
the course we will be covering a few
*specific*notations that are useful for describing*specific*classes of state machines. For example, Z is useful for describing sequential state machines; CSP, concurrent ones. - At some times in lecture and in these handouts, I will be excessively pedantic and precise. At others I will be intentionally sloppy because the details are either unimportant or tedious. Of course the hard part is knowing when you may be sloppy and when you must be precise. You'll acquire this sensibility over time with practice.
- There is no one accepted model of state machines that is used as a standard for all of Computer Science or Software Engineering. Rather, each domain, discipline, area, etc., defines its own variation that is appropriate for the class of problems at hand. Thus, I am making a noble attempt in this handout to present a single model that is simple and abstract enough that will then allow me to present many of the common variations.

Mon Mar 18 13:45:16 EST 1996