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Partial Derivatives of Regular Expressions and Finite Automata Constructions
 Theoretical Computer Science
, 1995
"... . We introduce a notion of a partial derivative of a regular expression. It is a generalization to the nondeterministic case of the known notion of a derivative invented by Brzozowski. We give a constructive definition of partial derivatives, study their properties, and employ them to develop a new ..."
Abstract

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. We introduce a notion of a partial derivative of a regular expression. It is a generalization to the nondeterministic case of the known notion of a derivative invented by Brzozowski. We give a constructive definition of partial derivatives, study their properties, and employ them to develop a new algorithm for turning regular expressions into relatively small NFA and to provide certain improvements to Brzozowski's algorithm constructing DFA. We report on a prototype implementation of our algorithm constructing NFA and present some examples. Introduction In 1964 Janusz Brzozowski introduced word derivatives of regular expressions and suggested an elegant algorithm turning a regular expression r into a deterministic finite automata (DFA); the main point of the algorithm is that the word derivatives of r serve as states of the resulting DFA [5]. In the following years derivatives were recognized as a quite useful and productive tool. Conway [8] uses derivatives to present various comp...