ANML Documentation

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.

Figure 1. Counter Element
Automata counter example

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.

Figure 2. Boolean Element
Automata boolean example

Neither the counter nor the boolean element give the automaton any greater computational power, but they do simplify the programming task substantially.