
Project 3  Regular Expression Interpreter
Due Mon Oct 26 11:59pm
Introduction
In this project, you will write an OCaml module to implement
NFAs and regular expressions.
Getting Started
Downloading
 Download the archive file
p3.zip
and extract its contents.
Along with files used to make direct submissions to the
submit server (submit.jar,
.submit ,
submit.rb), you will
find the following project files:
 Your OCaml program
 Public tests
 Expected output for public test
 Ruby script to run public tests
To test your implementation, you can execute the public tests from the
command line by typing commands like ocaml public_RE_to_str.ml, or you can use the goTest.rb script.
Note that to use goTest.rb you must first edit the file and specify which diff program to use.
For this project you are allowed to use the library
functions found in the Pervasives
module loaded by default, as well as functions
from the List and String modules.
As in the previous project, you are not
allowed to use imperative OCaml, except for
the next function to to generate new
NFA state numbers. You will receive a 0 for any
functions using restricted features  we will be
checking your code!
Project Description
Your job is to implement a module Nfa that includes
an API for implementing both NFAs and regular expressions.
The signature and starter implementation for the NFA module is provided.
You may not change the NFA signature in
any way, though your implementation may include more
types and functions than are listed in the signature. The
implementation contains a parser you can use to make it easier
to test your implementation. We say more about the parser, below.
Part 1: NFAs
For the first part of this project, you will write a series of
functions to implement NFAs using OCaml.
module type NFA =
sig
type nfa
type transition = int * char option * int
val make_nfa : int > int list > transition list > nfa
val e_closure : nfa > int list > int list
val move : nfa > int list > char > int list
val accept : nfa > string > bool
...
end
Here are descriptions of the elements of this signature, and what you
need to do to implement them:
 type nfa  This is an abstract type representing
NFAs. It is up to you to decide exactly how NFAs are implemented.
Since the type is abstract, no client that uses your module will be
able to see exactly how they are implemented.
 type transition = int * char option * int  This is a
(nonabstract) type we've made up for convenience to describe an NFA
transition. In the NFAs for this project, states will simply be
identified by number. Then (s0, Some c, s1) represents a
transition from the state numbered s0 to the state numbered
s1, via an arc labeled with the character c. Notice that
the character is optionalthe transition (s0, None, s1)
represents an epsilon transition from s0 to s1.
 make_nfa : int > int list > transition list > nfa.
This function takes as input the starting state, a list of final
states, and a list of transitions, and returns an NFA. Again, it is
up to you to decide exactly how NFAs should be implemented, but you
probably do not need to do much more than track these three components
(the starting state, final states, and transition list). As one example,
let m = make_nfa 0 [2] [(0, Some 'a', 1); (1, None, 2)]
sets m to be an NFA with start state 0, final state 2, a
transition from 0 to 1 on character a, and an epsilon
transition from 1 to 2.
 e_closure: nfa > int list > int list. This
function takes as input an nfa and a list of states.
The output will be a list of states
(in any order, with no duplicates)
that the NFA might be in making zero or more epsilon
transitions, starting from the list of initial states given
as an argument to e_closure. For example, letting m
be the NFA above, e_closure would return the following:
e_closure m [0] (* returns [0] *)
e_closure m [1] (* returns [1;2] *)
e_closure m [2] (* returns [2] *)
e_closure m [0;1] (* returns [0;1;2] *)
 move : nfa > int list > char > int list. This
function takes as input an nfa, a list of initial states, and a
character. The output will be a list of states
(in any order, with no duplicates)
that the NFA might be in after making one transition
on the character, starting from one of the initial states
given as an argument to move. For example, letting
m be the NFA above, move would return the following:
move m [0] 'a' (* returns [1] *)
move m [1] 'a' (* returns [] *)
move m [2] 'a' (* returns [] *)
move m [0;1] 'a' (* returns [1] *)
Notice that the NFA uses an implicit dead state. If
s is a state in the input list and there are no transitions
from s on the input character, then all that happens is that
no states are added to the output list for s.
 accept : nfa > string > bool. This function takes an
NFA and a string, and returns true if the NFA accepts the string, and
false otherwise. You will find functions in the
String library to be helpful.
Note: You need to be a bit careful whenever you combine NFA
representations to be sure that state names (i.e., integers) don't conflict.
You might use the following internal function as an aid in this process:
 next : unit > int  Return a new integer, different from
any values previously returned by next. (This function is defined on
the OCaml slides.)
Part 2: Regular Expressions
The second part of this project is to implement regular expressions.
The signature NFA contains the following
declarations:
module type NFA =
sig
...
type regexp =
Empty_String
 Char of char
 Union of regexp * regexp
 Concat of regexp * regexp
 Star of regexp
val regexp_to_string : regexp > string
val regexp_to_nfa : regexp > nfa
...
end
Here regexp is an userdefined OCaml variant datatype
that represents regular expressions:
 Empty_String represents the regular expression recognizing the
empty string (not the empty set!). Written as a formal regular expression, this would be epsilon.
 Char c represents the regular expression that accepts the
single character c. Written as a formal regular expression, this would be c.
 Union (r1, r2) represents the regular expression that is
the union of r1 and r2. For example, Union(Char
'a', Char'b') is the same as the formal regular expression ab.
 Concat (r1, r2) represents the concatenation of
r1 followed by r2. For example, Concat(Char
'a', Char 'b') is the same as the formal regexp ab.
 Star r represents the Kleene closure of regular
expression r. For example, Star (Union (Char 'a', Char
'b')) is the same as the formal regexp (ab)*
For this part of the project you need to implement the following:
 regexp_to_string : regexp > string takes a
a regular expression and returns a string for the regular expression
in the postfix notation. Postfix notation is a mathematical notation in which every operator follows all of its operands.
For example, the infix expression "(3 + (4 * 8)) + ((6 + 7)/5)" is expressed as "3 4 8 * + 6 7 + 5 / +".
Using the same idea for regular expressions, the infix regular expression "((ab)*aba*)*(ab)(ab)" can be represented as "a b  * a . b . a * . * a b  . a b  .". You can do this as a postorder
DFS traversal over the regexp data structure.
 regexp_to_nfa : regexp > nfa takes a
regexp and returns an NFA that accepts the same
language as the regular expression. As long as
your NFA accepts the correct language, the structure of the NFA does
not matter (since the NFA produced by regexp_to_nfa will only be
tested by seeing which strings it accepts).
Provided: Regular Expressions Parser
In the starter files we have provided code that parses strings into
regexp values. In particular, it implements the following
elements of the signature:
module type NFA =
sig
...
val string_to_regexp : string > regexp
val string_to_nfa : string > nfa
exception IllegalExpression of string
end
where
 string_to_regexp : string > regexp takes a string for
a regular expression, parses the string, and outputs its equivalent
regexp. If the parser determines that the regular expression has
illegal syntax, it will raise an IllegalExpression exception.
 string_to_nfa : string > nfa takes a string for
a regular expression, parses the string, converts it into a
regexp, and transforms it to an nfa, using your
regexp_to_nfa function. As such, for this functiont to
work, your regexp_to_nfa function must be working.
Notes about the grammar for regular expressions implemented by the
provided parser:
 The regular expressions can contain only (, ), , *, a, b, ..., z and E (for epsilon).
 Note that the precedence for regular expressions are as follows, from highest to lowest:
Precedence 
Operator 
Description 
Highest 
( ) 
parentheses 
 
* 
closure 
v 
. 
concatenation 
Lowest 
 
union 
 Note that all the binary operators are right associative.
 Your function should throw an IllegalExpression exception for invalid regular expressions.
Some examples of regular expressions and their equivalent regexp
data type are listed in the following table:
String Input 
regexp Output 
String Output 
a 
Char 'a' 
a 
ab 
Union(Char 'a',Char 'b') 
a b  
ab 
Concat(Char 'a',Char 'b') 
a b . 
aab 
Concat(Char 'a',Concat(Char 'a',Char 'b')) 
a a b . . 
(aE)* 
Star(Union(Char 'a',Empty_String)) 
a E  * 
(aE)*(ab) 
Concat(Star(Union(Char 'a',Empty_String)),Union(Char 'a',Char 'b')) 
a E  * a b  . 
Submission
You can submit your project in two ways:

Submit your file nfa.ml directly to the
submit server
by clicking on the submit link in the column "web submission".
Next, use the submit dialog to submit your nfa.ml file.
Select your file using the "Browse" button,
then press the "Submit project!" button.

Submit directly by executing a Java program on a computer
with Java and network access. Use the submit.jar file
from the archive p3.zip,
To submit, go to the directory containing your project, then either
execute submit.rb or type the following command directly:
java jar submit.jar
You will be asked to enter your class account and password, then
all files in the directory (and its subdirectories) will be
put in a jar file and submitted to the submit server.
If your submission is successful you will see the message:
Successful submission # received for project 4
Academic Integrity
The Campus Senate has adopted a policy asking students to include the
following statement on each assignment in every course: "I pledge on
my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance
on this assignment." Consequently your program is requested to
contain this pledge in a comment near the top.
Please carefully read the academic honesty section of the
course syllabus. Any evidence of impermissible cooperation on
projects, use of disallowed materials or resources, or unauthorized
use of computer accounts, will be submitted to the Student
Honor Council, which could result in an XF for the course, or
suspension or expulsion from the University. Be sure you understand
what you are and what you are not permitted to do in regards to
academic integrity when it comes to project assignments. These
policies apply to all students, and the Student Honor Council does not
consider lack of knowledge of the policies to be a defense for
violating them. Full information is found in the course
syllabusplease review it at this time.
Copyright Notice
This course project is copyright of Dr. Michael Hicks. ©Michael Hicks [2015]. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited without the express consent of the author.
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