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Network Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS) make extensive use of regular expressions as attack signatures. Internally, NIDS represent and operate these signatures using finite automata. Existing representations of finite automata present a well-known time-space tradeoff: Deterministic automata (DFAs) provide fast matching but are memory intensive, while non-deterministic automata (NFAs) are space-efficient but are several orders of magnitude slower than DFAs. This time/space tradeoff has motivated much recent research, primarily with a focus on improving the space-efficiency of DFAs, often at the cost of reducing their performance.
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