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Body of physical and logical principles underlying the operation of any electromechanical device (an automaton) that converts information input in one form into another, or into some action, according to an algorithm. Norbert Wiener and Alan M. Turing are regarded as pioneers in the field. In computer science, automata theory is concerned with the construction of robots (seerobotics) from basic building blocks of automatons. The best example of a general automaton is an electronic digital computer. Networks of automata may be designed to mimic human behaviour. See alsoartificial intelligence; Turing machine.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on automata theory, visit Britannica.com.
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