How many DFA's exist with two states over the input alphabet $\{0,1\}$?

My attempt :

Input set is given. So, we have 3 parts of DFA which we can change:

  1. Start state
  2. Transition Function
  3. Final state

Start state can be chosen as any one among 2 in 2 ways.

Transition function is from $Q \times Z$ to $Q$, where $Q$ is the set of states and $Z$ is the alphabet. $|Q| = 2$, $|Z| = 2$. So, number of possible transition functions $= 2^{2 \times 2} = 2^{4}$

Final state can be any subset of the set of states including the empty set. With $2$ states, we can have $2^2 = 4$ possible sub states.

Thus total number of DFAs possible :


Where total 40 DFA's are accepting empty language.

Can you explain in formal way, with a formula, please?

  • $\begingroup$ Your title and your question do not match: Two states or three states? $\endgroup$ – Lee Mosher Feb 3 '16 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for typo. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – 1 0 Feb 3 '16 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ Your attempt seems to be very clean. What kind of formula do you wish? $\endgroup$ – J.-E. Pin Feb 3 '16 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ Assume, if we have $n$ states, over total input alphabet is $m$ . Then what will be total number of DFAs and how many DFAs accepted empty languages ? $\endgroup$ – 1 0 Feb 3 '16 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ Why don't you apply the same argument to the general case? $\endgroup$ – J.-E. Pin Feb 3 '16 at 15:09

Your solution looks correct, If you are looking for a formula

For $k$ states and $i$ input alphabets

$$k^{ki+1}\times 2^{k}$$


Sorry, but I think your solution is incorrect. If with N states an alphabet of size Z, you have N * N * Z: For each state,for each symbol in Z, there in a transition leading to one of N possible destination states. (n+1 if you allow the automaton to not be completely defined).


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