Finite State Coffee

21 Nov 2016

I was talking with a student at office hours about Formal Languages, and the discussion dredged up all sorts of memories about old work I’ve done. In particular, I was resminiscing about this phase when I was really into the idea of automata, and their generalization across domains, not just natural language. Coffee was a target, so I put together a finite state automata that would generate all coffee and espresso drinks.

Look, I know automata aren’t flowcharts, and this isn’t rigorous, but if we think of the components of a latte as morphemes (milk, coffee, water), and they’re put together to create a word (drink)…