Definition: The set of all possible symbols in an application. For instance, input characters used by a finite state machine, letters making up strings in a language, or symbols in a pattern element. In some cases, an alphabet may be infinite.
See also don't care.
Note: An alphabet may be as simple as the booleans 1 and 0, or as rich as the key words and token types in a programming language.
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Entry modified 17 December 2004.
HTML page formatted Fri Mar 25 16:20:34 2011.
Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "alphabet", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed., U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. 17 December 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from: http://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/alphabet.html