> I ran the above regular expression based parser against the test
> input
> that Ara supplied.  The times for the state machine based parser
> verses
> the regular expression based parser comes to ...
> 
>   State Machine:      100000 iterations => 20.949496 seconds
>   Regular Expression: 100000 iterations => 14.183326 seconds


Aren't regex's state machines anyway?  Seems to me that if you can
get a regex to work at all (modulo pathologically contrived Kleene
star craziness, of course), it will almost always be quicker.

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