JFLAP: Creating Finite State Machines

Create executable finite state machine versions of graphs you have created or used to solve problems. See how to create models of things in the real world from puzzles to gadgets and web pages that you can then simulate to explore them.

Diagrams like a tube map, with circles (states) for places and lines between them (transitions) showing which circles you can move between can be thought of as models called finite state machines. They describe the computations involved in moving around a map. A finite state machines is a very useful tools in the computational thinking toolbox. They are an important way for describing what computer systems do and of simulating things in the real world. JFLAP is an easy to use and free tool for creating finite state machines. This activity involves creating a simple finite state machine and simulating it, then going on to create more complex finite state machines that represent puzzles, gadgets, web pages and games.

Learn about:

  • finite state machines
  • Moore machines
  • models
  • computational thinking
  • abstraction
  • data representation
  • simulation


This session comes with linked booklets/activity sheets that you can download:

This activity is closely linked to the Tour Guide, the Knight’s Tour  and HexaHexaFlexagon Automata Activities. They can be done prior to this to introduce graphs and finite state machines.

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