This short paper notes that automata as mathematical models are often taughts in such a way that does not adequately relate them to other areas of computer science. For example, pushdown automata (PDA) are intrinsic to programming languages - compilers use them when interpreting a written computer program. Similarly, there are applications of finite automata, both deterministic and nondeterministic, in software design - statechart diagrams are essentially finite automata that visualize the behavior of a software program. Given these and other relations, the authors suggest that automata be taught to students in an "Automata and Related Topics" course that places heavy emphasis on the applications of automata in addition to their core concepts.
Dey, Pradip P. et al. Relating Automata to Other Fields. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges 27.4 (2012) 168-173