Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Computer Engineering and Computer Science

Committee Chair

Chang, Dar-Jen

Author's Keywords

Representation; Isomorphism; Backus-Naur form; Diagrammatic


Computer science--Charts, diagrams, etc.; Graphic methods; Isotype (Picture language)


Computer scientists studying formal languages have made use of a variety of representations to both reason, and communicate their ideas to others. Symbolic representations have proved useful for rigorously defining the theoretical objects of the preceding topics; however, research shows that diagrammatic representations are as fundamental to these subjects. Previous research in this domain has typically been interested in studying the semantics that a particular representation is intended to capture. By contrast, this treatise considers the importance of the format of the representations themselves, and how format influences the ability of a person to uncover characteristics, relevant to the problem domain. More specifically, this thesis investigates the established formalisms that have been devised to describe formal languages, and introduces a novel concept, an augmented syntax graph. This graph, an isomorphism of the Backus-Naur form, is shown to have application in visualizing properties that are pertinent to some parsing algorithms.