Teaching students

Not recommended

Teaching educators

Suitable

Finite State Automata (or FSA for short) is a very engaging topic from computer science for students, as it can be presented based on following simple maps. Yet it appears in advanced computer science courses because it opens all sorts of possibilities and answers the very idea of what computing is! In fact, the FSA is behind some deep philosophical reasoning about the limits of what computers can do. For our purposes, it's a fun exercise in reasoning that has some widely used everyday applications.

- Read through the guide on how to deliver CS Unplugged at a distance content.
- Go through the slides and trial them with the video conference software that you are going to present with.
- If you aren’t familiar with the activity, there is a written description in the Classic CS Unplugged website called Finite State Automata - Treasure Hunt, and you can see it in action in the Treasure Hunt video (this version is based on a commuting service run by pirates!). A slightly different version based on a commuter train service is in the “Formal Languages” chapter of the Computer Science Field Guide, which is aimed at high school students; you can find it in the section on finite state automata.
- The interactive web page that we use for distance teaching is from here: Computer Science Field Guide Trainsylvania interactive.
- Here is the completed map for the Trainsylvania exercise, print it out if you find it is taking a long time for participants to find the final station. You can "guide" your participants to the final station.

We recommend previewing these slides on a larger screen to view the slides and speaker notes easily.