Unique Automata Elements
Automata are more advanced than state machines and regular expressions because they contain additional elements: counters and booleans.
A counter element increments once on every cycle in which it is active. A target value must be assigned to a counter, and after the counter has reached this value, it can generate an activation signal to downstream elements, generate a report event, or both.
Figure 1 shows an automaton that will generate a report event if the input begins with five A symbols.
A boolean element enables the creation of logical constructs. For example, Figure 2 is an automaton that looks for either an A or a B in the first symbol position, followed by either a C or a D in the second symbol position, followed by an E in the third symbol position.
Neither the counter nor the boolean element give the automaton any greater computational power, but they do simplify the programming task substantially.