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Automata-based programming is a type of programming where any part of the codebase represents a finite state machine or similar automaton.
The automaton will generally have a variety of states, and will only exist in one particular state at a given time.
Automata-based programming utilizes automata theory to build this particular paradigm and model where the state of the automaton is useful in determining outputs. One way to think about this type of program is that programmers may create logical finite state machines within a codebase, and reference them in relation to their states.
Some experts talk about step-based programming that assesses the automaton in particular ways to work with the other parts of the codebase according to an iterative loop or an algorithm.
In general, automata-based programming uses the concept of the automaton in digital logic. Automata-based programming can also be combined with other modern programming approaches such as object-oriented programming.