Questions tagged [automata-theory]

Automata Theory, including abstract machines, grammars, parsing, grammatical inference, transducers, and finite-state techniques

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25
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1answer
2k views

Deciding emptiness of intersection of regular languages in subquadratic time

Let $L_1,L_2$ be two regular languages given by NFAs $M_1,M_2$ as input. Assume we would like to check whether $L_1\cap L_2\neq \emptyset$. This can clearly be done by a quadratic algorithm which ...
21
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2answers
3k views

computing the minimal NFA for a DFA

Many years ago I heard that computing the minimal NFA (nondeterministic finite automaton) from a DFA (deterministic) was an open question, as opposed to the vice versa direction which has been known ...
18
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2answers
765 views

Bounds on the size of the smallest NFA for L_k-distinct

Consider the language $L_{k-distinct}$ consisting of all $k$-letter strings over $\Sigma$ such that no two letters are equal: $$ L_{k-distinct} :=\{w = \sigma_1\sigma_2...\sigma_k \mid \forall i\in[k]...
254
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11answers
98k views

What is the enlightenment I'm supposed to attain after studying finite automata?

I've been revising Theory of Computation for fun and this question has been nagging me for a while (funny never thought of it when I learnt Automata Theory in my undergrad). So "why" exactly do we ...
33
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11answers
28k views

Books on automata theory for self-study

I need a finite automata theory book with lots of examples that I can use for self-study and to prepare for exams.
47
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5answers
7k views

Is the Chomsky-hierarchy outdated?

The Chomsky(–Schützenberger) hierarchy is used in textbooks of theoretical computer science, but it obviously only covers a very small fraction of formal languages (REG, CFL, CSL, RE) compared to the ...
19
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1answer
2k views

What is the number of languages accepted by a DFA of size $n$?

The question is simple and direct: For a fixed $n$, how many (different) languages are accepted by a DFA of size $n$ (i.e. $n$ states)? I will formally state this: Define a DFA as $(Q,\Sigma,\delta,...
39
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14answers
26k views

How practical is Automata Theory?

There is always a way for application in topics related to theoretical computer science. But textbooks and undergraduate courses usually don't explain the reason that automata theory is an important ...
39
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6answers
6k views

Regular expressions aren't

Ask even someone with a background in computer science what a regular expression is, and the answer is likely to go beyond the constraint of being within reach of a finite-state automaton. For ...
24
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1answer
941 views

Finding the smallest DFA that separates two words without using brute force search?

Given two strings x and y, I want to build a minimum size DFA that accepts x and rejects y. One way to do this is brute force search. You enumerate DFA's starting with the smallest. You try each ...
19
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3answers
1k views

Is the concept of the Turing Machine derived from automata?

I was just recently having a discussion about Turing Machines when I was asked, "Is the Turing Machine derived from automata, or is it the other way around"? I didn't know the answer of course, but I'...
4
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3answers
555 views

How to minimize a FSM transducer?

In contrast to FSM minimization which is well studied with various algorithms, theorems and has many practical applications, I'm looking for any nontrivial insight, analysis and references to the ...
15
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2answers
668 views

Regular versus TC0

According to the Complexity Zoo, $\mathsf{Reg} \subseteq \mathsf{NC^1}$ and we know that $\mathsf{Reg}$ cannot count so $\mathsf{TC^0} \not\subseteq \mathsf{Reg}$. However it doesn't say if $\mathsf{...
29
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2answers
2k views

How many DFAs accept two given strings?

Fix an integer $n$ and alphabet $\Sigma=\{0,1\}$. Define $DFA(n)$ to be the collection of all finite-state automata on $n$ states with starting state 1. We are considering all DFAs (not just connected,...
28
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2answers
2k views

Conditions for NFA universality

Consider a nondeterministic finite automata $A = (Q, \Sigma, \delta, q_0, F)$, and a function $f(n)$. Additionally we define $\Sigma^{\leq k} = \bigcup_{i \leq k} \Sigma^i$. Now lets analyze the ...
23
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1answer
747 views

Languages recognized by polynomial-size DFAs

For a fixed finite alphabet $\Sigma$, a formal language $L$ over $\Sigma$ is regular if there exists a deterministic finite automaton (DFA) over $\Sigma$ which accepts exactly $L$. I am interested in ...
22
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4answers
3k views

Where do most REGEX implementations fall on the complexity scale?

Most modern implementations of regular expressions, such as the ones in perl or .NET, go beyond the classical computer science definition of REGEXes with features like lookahead and lookbehind. Do ...
26
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4answers
1k views

Is there a non Turing-complete model of computation whose halting problem is undecidable?

I cannot think of any such model, maybe some form of typed lambda calculus? some elementary cellular automaton? This would almost disprove Wolfram's "Principle of Computational Equivalence": ...
26
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2answers
2k views

Context Sensitive Grammars and Types

1) What, if any, is the relationship between static typing and formal grammars? 2) In particular, would it be possible for a linear bounded automaton to check whether, say, a C++ or SML program was ...
20
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5answers
752 views

What notable automaton models have polynomially-decidable containment?

I'm trying to solve a particular problem, and I thought I might be able to solve it using automata theory. I'm wondering, what models of automata have containment decidable in polynomial time? i.e. if ...
19
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1answer
443 views

Conjecture about two counters automata

I would like to prove (or disprove) the following conjecture: Conjecture: a two counter automata (2CA) cannot decide the following language: $L = \{ n \mid $ the ternary and binary representations ...
10
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5answers
4k views

Automata Theory / Formal Language Thesis Topic

Hey All, I'm currently trying to find a solid masters thesis topic pertaining to some branch of automata theory or related to formal languages. I'm trying to generate some good ideas for what an ...
31
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1answer
792 views

Eilenberg's rational hierarchy of nonrational automata & languages -- where is it now?

In the preface to his very influential books Automata, Languages and Machines (Volumes A, B), Samuel Eilenberg tantalizingly promised Volumes C and D dealing with "a hierarchy (called the rational ...
30
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2answers
2k views

Is {$a^{i}b^{j}c^{k} ~|~ i \neq j, i \neq k, j \neq k$} non-context-free?

Is the language {$a^{i}b^{j}c^{k} ~|~ i \neq j, i \neq k, j \neq k$} context-free or not? I realized that I have encountered almost all variants of this question with different conditions about the ...
21
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1answer
476 views

For which regular expressions $\alpha$ is $\{ \beta \mid L(\alpha) = L(\beta) \}$ PSPACE-complete?

It is well known that the following problem is PSPACE-complete: Given regular expression $\beta$, does $L(\beta) = \Sigma^*$? What about determining equivalence to other (fixed) regular expressions $...
16
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1answer
368 views

Compared growth of the number of syntactic classes and Nerode classes.

For a language L ⊆ Σ^*, define the syntactic congruence ≡ of L as the least congruence on Σ^* that saturates L, i.e. : u ≡ v ⇔ (∀ x, y)[xuy ∈ L ↔ xvy ∈ L]. Now define the Nerode equivalence as the ...
11
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2answers
5k views

2DFA that requires many states in equivalent DFA?

Is there a 2DFA with $n$ states (where $n$ is nontrivial, say at least 4) that requires at least $2^n$ states to simulate using any DFA? A two-way DFA (2DFA) is a deterministic finite-state automaton ...
30
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4answers
1k views

Are there "small" machines which can efficiently match regular expressions?

It's well-known that a regular expression can be recognized by a nondeterministic finite automaton of size proportional to the regular expression, or by a deterministic FA which is potentially ...
23
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2answers
528 views

Testing whether letters can be scheduled to achieve a word in a regular language

I fix a regular language $L$ on an alphabet $\Sigma$, and I consider the following problem that I call letter scheduling for $L$. Informally, the input gives me $n$ letters and an interval for each ...
17
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3answers
1k views

Properties of Random Directed Graphs with Fixed Out-Degree

I am interested in properties of random directed graphs with fixed out-degree $d$. I am imagining a random graph model where each vertex chooses d neighbors (say, with replacement) u.a.r. ...
17
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2answers
657 views

How small can a NFA be, compared to the minimal Unambiguous Finite Automaton (UFA) of the same regular language?

Unambiguous Finite Automatons (UFA) are special type of non-deterministic finite automatons (NFA). A NFA is called unambiguous if every word $w\in \Sigma^*$ has at most one accepting path. This ...
13
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0answers
255 views

Is this problem on unambiguous finite automata NP-complete?

An unambiguous finite automaton (UFA) is a nondeterministic finite automaton (NFA) such that each word has at most one accepting path. In this post, for $n\in \mathbb{N}$, what I call an $n$-UFA (resp....
17
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1answer
947 views

Quadratic relationship between nondeterministic and deterministic space?

Savitch's theorem shows that $\mathrm{NSPACE}(f(n)) \subseteq \mathrm{DSPACE}(f(n)^2)$ for all large enough functions $f$, and proving that this is tight has been an open problem for decades. Suppose ...
14
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3answers
897 views

The significance of state complexity in automata and regular languages?

I'm reading "Concatenation of Regular Languages and Descriptional Complexity" by Galina Jiraskova, 2009 on the state complexity resulting from concatenation of two regular languages ( by Galina ...
12
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0answers
318 views

Survey on infinite alphabet automata?

The paper "Symbolic Finite State Transducers, Algorithms and Applications" by Bjorner et al (to appear at POPL 2012) describes one type of finite-state, infinite-alphabet automata/transducers by using ...
12
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1answer
4k views

What algorithms exist for construction a DFA that recognizes the language described by a given regex?

All of my textbooks use the same algorithm for producing a DFA given a regex: First, make an NFA that recognizes the language of the regex, then, using the subset (aka "powerset") construction, ...
8
votes
1answer
377 views

Lower bound for NFA accepting 3 letter language

Related to a recent question (Bounds on the size of the smallest NFA for L_k-distinct) Noam Nisan asked for a method to give a better lower bound for the size of an NFA than what we get from ...
6
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0answers
556 views

Generalized sequential machine synthesis subject to language equivalence/inclusion and reachability

A generalized sequential machine (GSM) is a generalization of a Mealy machine where on each transition one input symbol is read and 0 or more output symbols are written. As in a Mealy machine, we ...
10
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3answers
741 views

Maximum shortest word accepted by pushdown automata

Given a fixed alphabet, consider all deterministic pushdown automata with $n$ states that accept a nonempty language. What is the maximum length of the shortest word accepted by a deterministic ...
7
votes
1answer
555 views

Shortest string in the intersection of a context-free language and a regular language

For a language $X$, define $ss(X) = \min_{x\in X} |x|$, the length of the shortest string in $X$. For simplicity, we define $ss(\emptyset)=0$. Let $L$ be a context-free language generated by a context-...
5
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1answer
2k views

Emptiness of PDA without constructing the corresponding CFG

The emptiness problem for Context free Grammars(CFG) is well studied. The same holds for the equivalence problem between Pushdown Automata (PDA) and CFGs. Therefore, given a PDA, the straightforward ...
4
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0answers
83 views

Libraries for programming automata and Turing machines

What are the most useful libraries around for coding related to automata and Turing machines? By useful I mean the number of functions and algorithms supported by it.
3
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1answer
217 views

Finding self-similar homomorphisms of a FSM transducer

Consider a special case of homomorphisms of FSM transducers (or "generalized sequential machines" in [1]). Let $F$ be a transducer accepting a language $L$, and let $h(x)$ be a homomorphism function ...
16
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1answer
1k views

Are DPDAs without a $\epsilon$ moves as powerful as DPDAs with them?

In the formal description of Deterministic Pushdown Automata, they allow $\epsilon$ moves, where the machine can pop or push symbols onto the stack without reading a symbol from the input. If these $\...
12
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3answers
766 views

A "simple" language outside $CFL \cup coCFL$?

I am looking for a language L with the following properties: L should not be context-free. L's complement should not be context-free. (Everything you see in textbooks as prime examples of non-context-...
12
votes
1answer
798 views

The Cost of an Equivalence Query for DFA

Inspired by this question, I am curious about the following: What is the worst-case complexity of checking whether a given DFA accepts the same language as a given regular expression? Is this ...
10
votes
1answer
238 views

Is it decidable whether the output length of a transducer is bounded by the input length?

The transducers considered here are those Wikipedia calls finite state transducers. The behavior of a transducer $T$, that is, the relation it computes, is written $[T]$: a word $y$ is an output for $...
9
votes
1answer
462 views

Measurable language which is not $\omega$-regular

Let $\Sigma$ be a finite alphabet and let $\Sigma^\omega$ be the set of all infinite words over $\Sigma$. Consider $$ d(x,y):=2^{-\min(n \in \Bbb N_0:x_n\neq y_n)} $$ to be the metric on $\Sigma^\...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Proving the set of powers of 2 over ternary alphabet to be non regular.

It's simple to see that the powers of 2 over alphabet {0,1} is regular because $10^*$ is a regular expression for it. But the powers of 2 represented in ternary appears to be non regular. Pumping ...
7
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0answers
351 views

Examples of non-CSLs not created through diagonalization

Hopcroft & Ullman 1979, Intro to Automata Theory, Languages, & Computation states (p. 224) that "almost any language one can think of is CSL; the only known proofs that certain languages are ...