Point of automata theory in ECE?

  • Thread starter jhicks
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So I've got a ton of time on my hands for the next few days so I'm trying to meticulously plan out the courses I'm going to take in grad school in electrical engineering. Some things look interesting, and I've been trying to plan my curriculum the best I can to coincide with things that would be useful for working at a major semiconductor fab corp like AMD, but some courses look interesting rather than useful. This one in particular I'm looking at is automata theory, which appears to be an extremely theoretical class but doesn't appear to offer much practical knowledge.

If anyone is familiar with the topic on a deeper level than say what I can extract from the wikipedia article, could they provide an argument for how this could possibly complement my studies? It looks interesting - I just can't justify taking it as one of my 6-8 grad classes.
 

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Ive taken classes in automata theory. They probably won't help you very much directly with a circuits job like those at AMD, but you will walk away with a deeper understanding on how we model computers and robots, probably some better knowledge of linguistics as well. Its a similar shift in paradigm to when you first program in a low level language; one has to think about bit registers and memory and all sorts of things a high level language takes care for you automatically. If you havent taken an algorithms class then you will be introduced to classes of problems (P,NP, etc) and feasible computation by different computer models. I think this is probably the most helpful portion, some problems simply cannot be solved in a feasible amount of time and you will learn to spot them.
 

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