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A flat state machine has one active state. In a hierarchical state machine (HSM), if the HSM is in a child state, it's also in it's parent state. So, an active state configuration of an HSM consists of multiple states which form a tree. If the HSM doesn't have orthogonal regions, the tree simplifies to a list.

Is there an accepted term for the deepest nested state(s) in an active state configuration?

If it helps clarify the question, here's an example of a simple HSM without orthogonal regions. Active state configuration is shown with thick outline.

State chart perspective

Example state chart for an HSM.  Active state configuration shown with thick outline. (source)

State hierarchy perspective

HSM state hierarchy.  Active state configuration shown with thick outline. (source)

  • It's called "The deepest nested state(s) in an active state configuration." Given that you're using a tree as a data structure, I suppose you could also call such a state a "leaf state." – Robert Harvey Aug 6 '18 at 22:37
  • @Robert "The deepest nested state(s) in the active configuration" does get the point across. I'm hoping for something shorter, thought. "Leaf active states" crossed my mind too. My reservation about "leaf" is that it may be confusing in cases when deepest nested state isn't a leaf state in the overall state hierarchy. – Nick Alexeev Aug 6 '18 at 23:44

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