Automata and Formal Languages

Computer Science and ICT, Data, AI

About this course

The module is divided into two parts. The first part deepens and expands the study of finite automata initiated in IN0011 (Introduction to theoretical computer science), while the second introduces automata on infinite words. In both parts automata are seen as a data structure for the manipulation of (possibly infinite) sets and relations. The module shows how to implement Boolean operations and joins for different automata classes (nondeterministic and deterministic automata, binary decision diagrams, Büchi automata). It also introduces the connection between automata and logic. The algorithms are applied to a variety of problems, ranging from pattern-matching to program verification and solution of Diophantine equations.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to

  • use finite automata as a data structure for representation of finite and infinite sets;
  • understand and determine the computational complexity of different operations for different classes of automata;
  • move to and fro logical and automata-theoretic descriptions;
  • apply automata to problems in pattern matching and formal verification.


Javier Esparza: Automata Theory --- An algorithmic approach. Lecture notes, 2012. John E. Hopcroft, Rajeev Motwani, Jeffrey D. Ullman; Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages and Computation; Addison-Wesley Longman, 3rd edition, 2006. Joerg Flum, Erich Graedel, Thomas Wilke (eds.); Logic and Automata: History and Perspectives, Volume 2; Amsterdam University Press, 2008. Dominique Perrin, Jean-Eric Pin; Infinite Words: Automata, Semigroups, Logic and Games; Academic Press, 2004.

Course requirements

IN0011 Introduction to Theory of Computation


The module consists of lectures and tutorials. During the lectures students are asked to solve small exercises online. Students also received weekly assignments, whose solution is discussed in the tutorials.

Link to more information

  • Credits
    ECTS 8
  • Contact hours per week
  • Instructors
    Francisco Javier Esparza Estaun
  • Mode of instruction
  • Course coordinator
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of TUM (Germany).


  • Start date

    14 October 2024

    • Ends
      4 February 2025
    • Term *
    • Instruction language
These offerings are valid for students of Technion (Israel)