
 finite state machine 
  Definition: A model of computation consisting of a set of states, a start state, an input alphabet, and a transition function that maps input symbols and current states to a next state. 
  There are many variants, for instance, machines having actions (outputs) associated with transitions (Mealy machine) or states (Moore machine), multiple start states, transitions conditioned on no input symbol (a null) or more than one transition for a given symbol and state (nondeterministic finite state machine), one or more states designated as accepting states (recognizer), etc. 
  Paul E. Black, "finite state machine", from Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures, Paul E. Black, ed., NIST. 
 www.nist.gov /dads/HTML/finiteStateMachine.html (301 words) 
