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In the popular (and essential) computer science book, An Introduction to Formal Languages and Automata by Peter Linz, the following formal language is frequently stated:

definition

mainly because this language can not be processed with finite-state automata. This expression mean "Language L consists all strings of 'a's followed by 'b's, in which the number of 'a's and 'b's are equal and non-zero".

Challenge

Write a working program/function which gets a string, containing "a"s and "b"s only, as input and returns/outputs a truth value, saying if this string is valid the formal language L.

  • Your program cannot use any external computation tools, including network, external programs, etc. Shells are an exception to this rule; Bash, e.g., can use command line utilities.

  • Your program must return/output the result in a "logical" way, for example: returning 10 instead of 0, "beep" sound, outputting to stdout etc. More info here.

  • Standard code golf rules apply.

This is a . Shortest code in bytes wins. Good luck!

Truthy test cases

"ab"
"aabb"
"aaabbb"
"aaaabbbb"
"aaaaabbbbb"
"aaaaaabbbbbb"

Falsy test cases

""
"a"
"b"
"aa"
"ba"
"bb"
"aaa"
"aab"
"aba"
"abb"
"baa"
"bab"
"bba"
"bbb"
"aaaa"
"aaab"
"aaba"
"abaa"
"abab"
"abba"
"abbb"
"baaa"
"baab"
"baba"
"babb"
"bbaa"
"bbab"
"bbba"
"bbbb"

Leaderboard

Here is a Stack Snippet to generate both a regular leaderboard and an overview of winners by language.

/* Configuration */

var QUESTION_ID = 85994; // Obtain this from the url
// It will be like https://XYZ.stackexchange.com/questions/QUESTION_ID/... on any question page
var ANSWER_FILTER = "!t)IWYnsLAZle2tQ3KqrVveCRJfxcRLe";
var COMMENT_FILTER = "!)Q2B_A2kjfAiU78X(md6BoYk";
var OVERRIDE_USER = 48934; // This should be the user ID of the challenge author.

/* App */

var answers = [], answers_hash, answer_ids, answer_page = 1, more_answers = true, comment_page;

function answersUrl(index) {
  return "https://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions/" +  QUESTION_ID + "/answers?page=" + index + "&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&site=codegolf&filter=" + ANSWER_FILTER;
}

function commentUrl(index, answers) {
  return "https://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/answers/" + answers.join(';') + "/comments?page=" + index + "&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&site=codegolf&filter=" + COMMENT_FILTER;
}

function getAnswers() {
  jQuery.ajax({
    url: answersUrl(answer_page++),
    method: "get",
    dataType: "jsonp",
    crossDomain: true,
    success: function (data) {
      answers.push.apply(answers, data.items);
      answers_hash = [];
      answer_ids = [];
      data.items.forEach(function(a) {
        a.comments = [];
        var id = +a.share_link.match(/\d+/);
        answer_ids.push(id);
        answers_hash[id] = a;
      });
      if (!data.has_more) more_answers = false;
      comment_page = 1;
      getComments();
    }
  });
}

function getComments() {
  jQuery.ajax({
    url: commentUrl(comment_page++, answer_ids),
    method: "get",
    dataType: "jsonp",
    crossDomain: true,
    success: function (data) {
      data.items.forEach(function(c) {
        if (c.owner.user_id === OVERRIDE_USER)
          answers_hash[c.post_id].comments.push(c);
      });
      if (data.has_more) getComments();
      else if (more_answers) getAnswers();
      else process();
    }
  });  
}

getAnswers();

var SCORE_REG = /<h\d>\s*([^\n,]*[^\s,]),.*?(\d+)(?=[^\n\d<>]*(?:<(?:s>[^\n<>]*<\/s>|[^\n<>]+>)[^\n\d<>]*)*<\/h\d>)/;

var OVERRIDE_REG = /^Override\s*header:\s*/i;

function getAuthorName(a) {
  return a.owner.display_name;
}

function process() {
  var valid = [];
  
  answers.forEach(function(a) {
    var body = a.body;
    a.comments.forEach(function(c) {
      if(OVERRIDE_REG.test(c.body))
        body = '<h1>' + c.body.replace(OVERRIDE_REG, '') + '</h1>';
    });
    
    var match = body.match(SCORE_REG);
    if (match)
      valid.push({
        user: getAuthorName(a),
        size: +match[2],
        language: match[1],
        link: a.share_link,
      });
    
  });
  
  valid.sort(function (a, b) {
    var aB = a.size,
        bB = b.size;
    return aB - bB
  });

  var languages = {};
  var place = 1;
  var lastSize = null;
  var lastPlace = 1;
  valid.forEach(function (a) {
    if (a.size != lastSize)
      lastPlace = place;
    lastSize = a.size;
    ++place;
    
    var answer = jQuery("#answer-template").html();
    answer = answer.replace("{{PLACE}}", lastPlace + ".")
                   .replace("{{NAME}}", a.user)
                   .replace("{{LANGUAGE}}", a.language)
                   .replace("{{SIZE}}", a.size)
                   .replace("{{LINK}}", a.link);
    answer = jQuery(answer);
    jQuery("#answers").append(answer);

    var lang = a.language;
    if (/<a/.test(lang)) lang = jQuery(lang).text();
    
    languages[lang] = languages[lang] || {lang: a.language, user: a.user, size: a.size, link: a.link};
  });

  var langs = [];
  for (var lang in languages)
    if (languages.hasOwnProperty(lang))
      langs.push(languages[lang]);

  langs.sort(function (a, b) {
    if (a.lang > b.lang) return 1;
    if (a.lang < b.lang) return -1;
    return 0;
  });

  for (var i = 0; i < langs.length; ++i)
  {
    var language = jQuery("#language-template").html();
    var lang = langs[i];
    language = language.replace("{{LANGUAGE}}", lang.lang)
                       .replace("{{NAME}}", lang.user)
                       .replace("{{SIZE}}", lang.size)
                       .replace("{{LINK}}", lang.link);
    language = jQuery(language);
    jQuery("#languages").append(language);
  }

}
body { text-align: left !important}

#answer-list {
  padding: 10px;
  width: 290px;
  float: left;
}

#language-list {
  padding: 10px;
  width: 290px;
  float: left;
}

table thead {
  font-weight: bold;
}

table td {
  padding: 5px;
}
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="//cdn.sstatic.net/codegolf/all.css?v=83c949450c8b">
<div id="answer-list">
  <h2>Leaderboard</h2>
  <table class="answer-list">
    <thead>
      <tr><td></td><td>Author</td><td>Language</td><td>Size</td></tr>
    </thead>
    <tbody id="answers">

    </tbody>
  </table>
</div>
<div id="language-list">
  <h2>Winners by Language</h2>
  <table class="language-list">
    <thead>
      <tr><td>Language</td><td>User</td><td>Score</td></tr>
    </thead>
    <tbody id="languages">

    </tbody>
  </table>
</div>
<table style="display: none">
  <tbody id="answer-template">
    <tr><td>{{PLACE}}</td><td>{{NAME}}</td><td>{{LANGUAGE}}</td><td>{{SIZE}}</td><td><a href="{{LINK}}">Link</a></td></tr>
  </tbody>
</table>
<table style="display: none">
  <tbody id="language-template">
    <tr><td>{{LANGUAGE}}</td><td>{{NAME}}</td><td>{{SIZE}}</td><td><a href="{{LINK}}">Link</a></td></tr>
  </tbody>
</table>

\$\endgroup\$
  • 24
    \$\begingroup\$ Can the input be empty? (You're saying it's not part of the language, but not whether it's an input we need to consider.) \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Jul 20 '16 at 20:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What if our language doesn't have truthy or falsy? Would empty string == truthy and non-empty string == falsy be acceptable? \$\endgroup\$ – James Jul 20 '16 at 20:20
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Nice challenge, but I think the title could be a little less ambiguous (i.e. a mention of a^n b^n or similar, rather than just the number of as equalling the number of bs) \$\endgroup\$ – Sp3000 Jul 21 '16 at 12:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Sp3000 I choosed this title because it looked fun . I may change it later to sth else ... \$\endgroup\$ – user55673 Jul 21 '16 at 13:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm a little surprised that in 50+ answers I'm the only one to use a paser generator. To be sure it's not strictly competitive on length, but the problem posed is one of parsing a simple but non-trivial language. I'd very much like to see answers in other compiler-compiler syntaxes because I am not widely familiar with the choices. \$\endgroup\$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jul 22 '16 at 22:47

92 Answers 92

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0
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Unix TMG, 64 bytes

p:<a>f((<b>))parse((any(!<<>>)|={<1>}));f:proc(x)<a>f((<b>x))|x;

Works by recursive-descent parsing. It outputs "1" for match, nothing otherwise.

Expanded:

prog:   <a> recurs(( <b> )) parse(( any(!<<>>) | = { <1> } ));
recurs: proc(x) <a> recurs(( <b> x )) 
      | x;

The solution is based on the one in McIlroy's Tmg Manual (1972) for anbncn.

| improve this answer | |
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0
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shortC, 41 bytes

AIa,b;K"%*[a]%n%*[b]%n",&a,&b);T++b-2*a+G

Try it online!

C (gcc), 69 bytes

main(){int a,b;scanf("%*[a]%n%*[b]%n",&a,&b);return 2*a/b+getchar();}

Try it online!

returns 0 if correct. I think I made it very hard to read when debugging, here is explanation:

int main(){
    int a,b;
    scanf("%*[a]%n%*[b]%n",&a,&b);      // skips As, assigns count to a, skips Bs, assigns total to b
    return 2*a/b                // checks to make sure As and Bs are equal. Should give 1  (a/b = 1 if a=b)
    +getchar();             // adds return of getchar, EOF if no trailing chars so checks for possibilities like abab
}                       // they add together to make 0, which is normally an "all clear" exit code

                second post!
| improve this answer | |
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  • \$\begingroup\$ As you might see, the meat is in using (abusing) scanf's hidden powers. There is a problem with the first c version, because when dividing a/b it may say 'aab' is correct because it truncates the fractional part. fortunately, I fixed it in the shortC version. \$\endgroup\$ – Wezl Apr 17 at 17:52
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