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Python library for modeling DFAs.

Project description


A simple python implementation of a DFA.

Build Status codecov PyPI version License: MIT

Table of Contents


  1. State can be any Hashable object.
  2. Alphabet can be any finite sequence of Hashable objects.
  3. Designed to be immutable and hashable (assuming components are immutable and hashable).
  4. Design choice to allow transition map and accepting set to be given as functions rather than an explicit dict or set.


If you just need to use dfa, you can just run:

$ pip install dfa

For developers, note that this project uses the poetry python package/dependency management tool. Please familarize yourself with it and then run:

$ poetry install


The dfa api is centered around the DFA object.

By default, the DFA object models a Deterministic Finite Acceptor, e.g., a recognizer of a Regular Language.

Example Usage:

from dfa import DFA

dfa1 = DFA(
    inputs={0, 1},
    label=lambda s: (s % 4) == 3,
    transition=lambda s, c: (s + c) % 4,

dfa2 = DFA(
    inputs={"move right", "move left"},
    label=lambda s: s == "left",
    transition=lambda s, c: "left" if c == "move left" else "right",

Membership Queries

assert dfa1.label([1, 1, 1, 1])
assert not dfa1.label([1, 0])

assert dfa2.label(["move right"]*100 + ["move left"])
assert not dfa2.label(["move left", "move right"])

Transitions and Traces

assert dfa1.transition([1, 1, 1]) == 3
assert list(dfa1.trace([1, 1, 1])) == [0, 1, 2, 3]

Non-boolean output alphabets

Sometimes, it is useful to model an automata which can label a word using a non-Boolean alphabet. For example, {True, False, UNSURE}.

The DFA object supports this by specifying the output alphabet.


def my_labeler(s):
    if s % 4 == 2:
       return None
    return (s % 4) == 3

dfa3 = DFA(
    inputs={0, 1},
    transition=lambda s, c: (s + c) % 4,
    outputs={True, False, UNSURE},

Note: If outputs is set to None, then no checks are done that the outputs are within the output alphabet.

dfa3 = DFA(
    inputs={0, 1},
    transition=lambda s, c: (s + c) % 4,

Moore Machines

Finally, by reinterpreting the structure of the DFA object, one can model a Moore Machine. For example, in 3 state counter, dfa1, the Moore Machine can output the current count.

assert dfa1.transduce(()) == ()
assert dfa1.transduce((1,)) == (False,)
assert dfa1.transduce((1, 1, 1, 1)) == (False, False, False, True)

DFA <-> Dictionary

Note that dfa provides helper functions for going from a dictionary based representation of a deterministic transition system to a DFA object and back.

from dfa import dfa2dict, dict2dfa

# DFA encoded a nested dictionaries with the following
# signature.
#     <state>: (<label>, {<action>: <next state>})

dfa_dict = {
    0: (False, {0: 0, 1: 1}),
    1: (False, {0: 1, 1: 2}),
    2: (False, {0: 2, 1: 3}), 
    3: (True, {0: 3, 1: 0})

# Dictionary -> DFA
dfa = dict2dfa(dfa_dict, start=0)

# DFA -> Dictionary
dfa_dict2, start = dfa2dict(dfa)

assert (dfa_dict, 0) == (dfa_dict2, start)

Computing Reachable States

# Perform a depth first traversal to collect all reachable states.
assert dfa1.states() == {0, 1, 2, 3}

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