Automata simulators?
January 28, 2013 1:42 PM   Subscribe

What are the best automata (formal language theory) simulators? This is mainly for teaching purposes. I have used JFLAP in past iterations of the class in question, and my google searches suggest this is still the best option, but I was wondering if there is anything newer and better that I'm not finding. Details below.

Ideal: can do DFAs, NFAs, PDAs, Turing machines, and at least some grammar formalisms. I would love tools that could demo some of the more obscure machines as well (e.g. two-tape turing machines, linear bounded automata, etc) but asking for a lot of these is probably hoping for too much; JFLAP has the best coverage of any of these apps that I know. I would prefer something cross-platform so students can run it themselves, but will consider anything, even ipad apps if they exist. I'm also interested in hearing about specialized tools that do one or a few kinds of machines very well, or have especially pretty visualization, or whatever.

Also, because this is coming up in searches a lot, I'm not interesting in cellular automata simulators. I'm aware that JFLAP is working on a redesign but the class will be long over by their projected release date.
posted by advil to Education (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I realized I accidentally left the most basic constraint implicit: I do want something that has decent visualization that I can project.
posted by advil at 1:47 PM on January 28, 2013

I think we used LNKnet when I took a similar class with Bob Frank about 8 years ago. It wasn't bad. I could be wrong, and it's been a while.
posted by Nomyte at 1:49 PM on January 28, 2013

Oh, hello, you two. Not sure this is terribly helpful, but I have a vague recollection of using something, back in 2002-2004, when I took "a similar class". It may have just been JFLAP. There's a non-zero chance I found something else and installed it on my (Windows 2000) desktop, which I still own.. in storage 4000 miles from here. I've shared this with a few colleagues on other media & will see if anything else rises. Good luck!
posted by knile at 8:04 AM on January 29, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks you two...guess it says something (not sure what) that everyone involved in this thread so far is talking about different instances of the same course!

LNKnet is interesting and I haven't looked at it before, but I think Bob must have done some PDP or neural network stuff if he used it, because I don't think it does the types of automata I tend to focus on.
posted by advil at 5:34 PM on January 29, 2013

« Older Can this relationship be salvaged?   |   science fiction about viruses being alive or not Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.