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From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki

1.02 Finite State (Design) Machines

So far we have seen how:

  1. Information (in the sense of Shannon's ["Information Theory"]) can be recorded, or represented, as patterns of bits (binary numbers, or a series of yes-no decisions)
2. Using ["Boolean Logic"], a few basic logical building blocks (and, or, not), can be chained together to build simple machines that do simple things like decoding a pattern or adding binary numbers.

Until now though though we've been dealing with simple "black boxes" -- machines that (seen from the outside) simply have inputs and outputs. Time has not yet played a significant role -- ideally when the input to the machine is given, the outputs immediately change to reflect the inputs. (In practice of course, even electricity takes some time to flow though a logic gate, but ideally it works as fast as possible.)

However, by explicitly making use time and a notion of our machine being in different states, it becomes possible to extend these simple black-box machines into ones that do more interesting kinds of things.

About: Finite_State_Machines

You can download the [:Audio Cutup PD Patch: audio sample fsm patch here].


  • SoX sound editing command line tool
  • LibriVox Public domain spoken books project


simple fsm's in pd

  • Create a simple tone sequencer FSM in PD
  • Revise the above to include some non-deterministic (random) branches
  • Revise the above to use one or more inputs (pd toggles, or other switches)

audio cutup fsm's in pd

  • Using your selection from LibriVox, and the ["Audio Cutup PD Patch"] build an audio cutup FSM in PD, using Random transitions
  • Revise the above to use one or more inputs in it's transitions
  • Revise your design to use "category" nodes -- that is, nodes that correspond to a general category, of which you can connect a number of specific examples.