Best Computer Science School in Utah

Hans Fugal hans at
Tue Sep 25 22:11:02 MDT 2007

On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 at 11:29 -0600, Levi Pearson wrote:
> Nicholas Leippe <nick at> writes:
> >>
> >> For CS majors at BYU, regexps are part of the required CS 252.
> >>
> >> (That's what you get for studying CE. :)
> >
> > Ah. That explains it. Never had 252.  But, I bought the O'Reilly book, and 
> > that has made all the difference. ;)
> Though, 252 teaches real regular expressions, which are far more
> limited than your standard perl-compatible regexp library.  Of course,
> it also teaches you how to recognize a regular language and prove that
> it is so.  And it gives you an idea of why you might sometimes want to
> use a regular language instead of a more powerful one.

And by limited of course you are talking about syntax. They are equal in
what they can match (regular languages).

I think everyone who enjoys regular expressions should also look into
parsers and compilers, e.g. context-free grammars via recursive descent
or lex/yacc. I read a blog entry by some bigwig once saying that
compilers is the most important CS class, and while I'm not sure if it's
the *most* important it is definitely very important. Overcoming the
fear of building compilers (really, you can do it and with the right
tools it doesn't take very long) can make a big positive difference in
the problems you can tackle and how you tackle them.

Hans Fugal ;
There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the 
right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
    -- Johann Sebastian Bach
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