PyCon UK 2019

Regexplained - Understanding the theory of Regular Expressions
2019-09-13, 15:30–16:00, Ferrier Hall

This talk aims to break down Regular Expressions to their base concept as finite automata.
Attendees will leave this with an understanding of the theory of Regular Expressions,
allowing them to better understand and construct complex regexes.

No prior knowledge of regexes or finite automata is required.


Many people see Regular Expressions as being a messy collection of unintelligible symbols
which somehow match strings. However, Regular Expressions come from a
theoretical computer science concept in the family of finite automate, or
finite state machines. Understanding how to visually and mentally represent a regular expression
as a finite automata can help to understand how they work, how they match
strings and what one can and can't do with them.

This talk is suitable for attendees of any computer science background and
experience level, having seen a regex before would be useful but not essential.

Attendees will leave this talk with a better understanding of how to visualise a
regex as a state machine. Attendees can use this knowledge to help them better
construct and understand powerful regexes.


Is your proposal suitable for beginners? – True