This question is on rewriting of the automata theory question.
I am at a loss to understand this extensive rewriting of the question to make it look "research" level. In the process a certain innocence and resonance the question had is gone! It was for precisely this reason that it evoked so many good answers.
As Noam said yesterday, can we take it easy? Can the site allow some latitude in these matters?
PS: I appreciate the effort and time that goes into rewriting driven the desire to make this a better site.
Update (from suresh): Here's the original question:
In class we are currently learning about state machines and so-called "regular expressions" and languages that are "accepted".
This is all interesting stuff we are learning, but I was hoping there was a really good reason for learning such a concept...
I know that there is always a way for application in topics related to CS theory, but with this whole automata concept I can't really extrapolate the cruciality of it... any experts here would like to offer their perspective?
and the final edit (for comparison):
There is always a way for application in topics related to theoretical computer science. But textbooks and undergraduate courses usually don't explain the reason that automata theory is an important topic and whether it still has applications in practice. Therefore undergraduate students might have trouble in understanding the importance of automata theory and might think it is not of any practical use anymore.
Is automata theory still useful in practice?
Should it be part of undergraduate CS curriculum?