Visualizing the minimization of a deterministic finite state automaton
Kshatriya Jagannath, Rajini Singh
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The minimization of deterministic finite state automata is one of the challenging concepts that students of an introductory theory of computation course must master. The minimization algorithm identifies redundant states that may occur in any deterministic finite state automaton and combines them in order to minimize the total number of states. Traditional textbooks provide a static presentation of this process. The average student seems to grasp the process better if it is presented dynamically. In this thesis we visualize every step of a minimization algorithm in sequence through a Java applet. Animations are used at every step in order to bring out the dynamism of the process. Students are also presented with a demonstration of both the original automata and the minimized automata running on the same input, in order to see that both automata accept/reject the same language. The applet will be included in a hypertextbook project as a benefit to both the instructor and the student.