Skip to main content

Questions tagged [regular-language]

Questions about the formal languages that can be described by regular expressions (in the sense of Kleene), or, equivalently, the languages that can be accepted by finite automata.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
33 votes
5 answers
5k views

Counting words accepted by a regular grammar

Given a regular language (NFA, DFA, grammar, or regex), how can the number of accepting words in a given language be counted? Both "with exactly n letters" and "with at most n letters" are of ...
Charles's user avatar
  • 1,745
32 votes
1 answer
909 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 ...
David Lewis's user avatar
29 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are regular languages called "regular"?

Why are regular languages (and from that regular expressions) called "regular"? There is lot of regularity also in context-free languages other types of languages. I suppose that, in the beginning, ...
gioele's user avatar
  • 397
27 votes
1 answer
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 ...
R B's user avatar
  • 9,458
27 votes
1 answer
729 views

Is there a regular tree language in which the average height of a tree of size $n$ is neither $\Theta(n)$ nor $\Theta(\sqrt{n})$?

We define a regular tree language as in the book TATA: It is the set of trees accepted by a non-deterministic finite tree automaton (Chapter 1) or, equivalently, the set of trees generated by a ...
john_leo's user avatar
  • 431
25 votes
3 answers
4k views

Regular languages from category-theoretical point of view

I noticed that regular languages over the alphabet $\Sigma$ can be naturally thought of as a poset, and indeed a lattice. Moreover, concatenation together with the empty language $\epsilon$ defines a ...
Aleksei Averchenko's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
559 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 ...
a3nm's user avatar
  • 9,527
22 votes
2 answers
763 views

Relation between $AC^0$ and regular languages

Let $\mathsf{REG}$ be the class of all regular languages. It is known $\mathsf{AC}^0 \not\subset \mathsf{REG}$ and $\mathsf{REG} \not\subset \mathsf{AC}^0$. But is there any characterization for ...
Alex Grilo's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
922 views

Complexity of intersection of regular languages as context-free grammars

Given regular expressions $R_1, \dots, R_n$, are there any non-trivial bounds on the size of the smallest context-free grammar for $R_1 \cap \cdots \cap R_n$?
Max's user avatar
  • 1,571
21 votes
2 answers
8k views

Is JSON a Regular Language?

I was wondering if the JSON spec defined a regular language. It seems simple enough, but I'm not sure how to prove it myself. The reason I ask, is because I was wondering if one could use regular ...
jjnguy's user avatar
  • 321
20 votes
5 answers
2k views

A special class of languages: “circular” languages. Is it known?

Define the following class of "circular" languages over a finite alphabet Sigma. Actually, the name already exists to denote a different thing it seems, used in the field of DNA computing. AFAICT, ...
vincenzoml's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
3k 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,...
Janoma's user avatar
  • 1,406
18 votes
3 answers
719 views

What is the minimal extension of FO that captures the class of regular languages?

Context: relations between logic and automata Büchi's Theorem states that Monadic Second Order logic over strings (MSO) captures the class of regular languages. The proof actually shows that ...
Janoma's user avatar
  • 1,406
18 votes
2 answers
840 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]...
R B's user avatar
  • 9,458
17 votes
2 answers
808 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 ...
R B's user avatar
  • 9,458
17 votes
5 answers
2k views

Ambiguity and Logic

In automata theory (finite automata, pushdown automata, ...) and in complexity, there is a notion of "ambiguity". An automaton is ambiguous if there is a word $w$ with at least two distinct accepting ...
Arthur MILCHIOR's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
996 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{...
Kaveh's user avatar
  • 21.7k
16 votes
1 answer
446 views

Can constant ambiguity reduce the state complexity of a regular languages?

We say that NFA $M$ is Constantly Ambiguous if there exist $k\in \mathbb{N}$ such that any word $w\in \Sigma^*$ is accepted by either $0$ or (exactly) $k$ paths. If automaton $M$ is constantly ...
R B's user avatar
  • 9,458
15 votes
4 answers
726 views

Hierarchies in regular languages

Is there any known "nice" hierarchy $L_0 \subseteq L_1 \subseteq L_2 \subseteq \dots$ (may be finite) inside the class of regular languages $L$? By nice here, the classes in each hierarchy capture ...
raja.damanik's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

On the realisation of monoids as syntactic monoids of languages

Let $L \subseteq X^{\ast}$ be some language, then we define the syntactic congruence as $$ u \sim v :\Leftrightarrow \forall x, y\in X^{\ast} : xuy \in L \leftrightarrow xvy \in L $$ and the quotient ...
StefanH's user avatar
  • 2,077
14 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Airmine's user avatar
  • 143
14 votes
2 answers
745 views

Automata learning without counterexamples

In Angluin's automata learning framework, a student aims to learn a regular language $L\subseteq \Sigma^*$ by asking two types of questions to his teacher: Word queries: given $w\in \Sigma^*$, is $w\...
user49692's user avatar
  • 219
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Sufficient conditions for the regularity of a context-free language

It would be nice to collect a list of conditions that imply that a context-free language L is regular, i.e. conditions of the form: "if a given CFG/PDA has property P, then its languages is regular" ...
f-h's user avatar
  • 588
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Distance between regular languages

I want to define a notion of "closeness" between two regular languages of finite words in $\Sigma^*$ (and/or infinite words in $\Sigma^\omega$). The basic idea is that we want two languages to be ...
Denis's user avatar
  • 8,903
14 votes
1 answer
3k views

minimizing size of regular expression

Suppose we have a regular language specified by a regex, for example, (ab|ac)* and we wish to find an equivalent regex with the minimal number of symbols, (a(b|c))*. Is there any efficient way to do ...
Antimony's user avatar
  • 917
14 votes
2 answers
918 views

Büchi automata with acceptance strategy

The problem Let $A=\langle \Sigma, Q, q_0,F,\Delta\rangle$ be a Büchi automaton, recognizing a language $L\subseteq\Sigma^\omega$. We assume that $A$ has an acceptance strategy in the following sense :...
Denis's user avatar
  • 8,903
13 votes
4 answers
2k views

(N)DFA with same initial/accepting state(s)

What is known about the class of languages recognized by finite automata having the same initial and accepting state? This is a proper subset of the regular languages (since every such language ...
Noam Zeilberger's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
814 views

Parameterized complexity of inclusion of regular languages

I am interested in the classic problem REGULAR LANGUAGE INCLUSION. Given a regular expression $E$, we denote by $L(E)$ the regular language associated to it. (Regular expressions are on a fixed ...
Florent Foucaud's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
420 views

Planarity of planar finite automata intersection

It was shown that any regular language can be specified by planar $\varepsilon$-free nondeterministic finite automaton (Bezáková, Ivona, and Martin Pál. "Planar finite automata."). Is it ...
gsv's user avatar
  • 421
13 votes
0 answers
218 views

Regular languages accepted by an automaton with at most one transition per letter

I'm interested in the (very restricted) subset of regular languages for which there is an automaton having the following property: for every letter $a$ of the alphabet, the automaton has at most one ...
a3nm's user avatar
  • 9,527
12 votes
3 answers
9k views

Ambiguity in regular and context-free languages

I understand the following claims to be true: Two distinct derivations of a string in a given CFG may sometimes attribute the same parse tree to the string. When there are derivations of some string ...
dubiousjim's user avatar
12 votes
0 answers
308 views

Reference request: exponential growth rates of subsequence-closed languages are integers

This question is migrated from MathOverflow, where it did not receive any answers a year ago. For a language $L$ over the finite alphabet $\Sigma$, let $L_n$ denote the set of words in $L$ of length $...
Vince Vatter's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
296 views

Is there a simple characterization of regular languages closed under circular shifts?

A language $L$ is closed under circular shifts if, for every word $w = a_1 ... a_n$ and circular shift $w' = a_i ... a_n a_1 ... a_{i-1}$ of $w$, then $w \in L$ iff $w' \in L$. It is equivalent to ...
a3nm's user avatar
  • 9,527
11 votes
1 answer
290 views

Existence of injective length-preserving rational function to a smaller alphabet

(This is a simpler rephrasing of an earlier question I have since deleted.) Definitions For this question, a finite-state transducer is like a standard NFA, except at each transition, the transducer ...
Jake's user avatar
  • 1,214
11 votes
1 answer
387 views

Regular languages and constant communication complexity

Let $L \subseteq A^*$ be a language, and define $f_L\colon A^* \times A^* \to \{0, 1\}$ by $f_L(x, y) = 1$ iff $x\cdot y \in L$. I'm searching for a reference for: Proposition. $L$ is regular iff ...
Michaël Cadilhac's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
177 views

Check whether DFA accepts majority of words less than a cutoff with another DFA

Question Let $M$ be some DFA that reads integers in base $k$. Does there always exist some other DFA $M'$ that also reads integers in base $k$, where $M'(x)$ accepts if and only if $M$ accepts the ...
Jake's user avatar
  • 1,214
11 votes
1 answer
515 views

Number of equivalence classes in regular languages as a function of DFA size

This question is related to a recent question by Janoma. Background In constraint programming, a regular global constraint $c$ over a domain $D$ is a pair $(s, M)$ with $s$ a tuple of variables (the ...
Evgenij Thorstensen's user avatar
11 votes
0 answers
108 views

Chomsky-Schützenberger for Deterministic CFLs

Is there a Chomsky-Schützenberger representation theorem for deterministic CFLs? Knowing precisely the class of morphisms under which DCFL is closed, such a theorem would probably be of the form: $...
Michaël Cadilhac's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
304 views

Obscure characterizations of the regular languages

I've been collecting equivalent characterizations of the regular languages. Does anyone know of any I haven't yet found? Wikipedia has a bunch: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regular_language#...
TomKern's user avatar
  • 489
10 votes
1 answer
265 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 $...
vzn's user avatar
  • 11k
10 votes
1 answer
352 views

The complexity of conversion from a regular expression to a nondeterminsitic automata and back after changing initial and final states

Suppose that a regular expression $\mathcal{R}$ over an alphabet $\Sigma$ is given. It is well-known that one can now construct a non-deterministic finite automaton $\mathcal{A}$ such that $\mathcal{R}...
Bartosz Bednarczyk's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
360 views

Complexity of checking if two words have an interleaving in a language

For a fixed language $L$ on some alphabet $A$, let us consider the following problem, that I call $L$-INTERLEAVING: Input: two words $u, v \in A^*$ Output: whether there exists an interleaving of $u$ ...
a3nm's user avatar
  • 9,527
10 votes
1 answer
762 views

What class of languages is recognized by finite-state automata with $k$ heads?

A DFA or NFA reads through an input string with a single head, moving left-to-right. It seems natural to wonder about finite-state machines that have multiple heads, each of which moves through the ...
Caleb Stanford's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
427 views

Transition monoid membership for DFAs

Given a complete DFA $A=(Q, \Gamma, \delta, F)$, we can define a collection of functions $f_a$ for each $a\in \Gamma$and with $f_a:Q\rightarrow Q$, $f_a(q)=\delta(q, a)$. We can generalize this notion ...
maomao's user avatar
  • 1,345
9 votes
2 answers
290 views

Defining regular language classes with disjoint union

Regular languages are typically defined using the operations of union, concatenation, and Kleene star. Likewise, there are restricted classes of regular languages defined via similar operations, for ...
a3nm's user avatar
  • 9,527
9 votes
1 answer
228 views

Do bounded-visit nondeterministic linear bounded automata recognize only regular languages?

Do bounded-visit nondeterministic linear bounded automata recognize only regular languages? By a nondeterministic linear bounded automaton (nLBA) I mean a single-tape nondeterministic Turing machine ...
Prateek's user avatar
  • 455
9 votes
1 answer
288 views

Generalisation of the statement that a monoid recognizes language iff syntactic monoid divides monoid

Let $A$ be a finite alphabet. For a given language $L \subseteq A^{\ast}$ the syntactic monoid $M(L)$ is a well-known notion in formal language theory. Furthermore, a monoid $M$ recognizes a language $...
StefanH's user avatar
  • 2,077
9 votes
1 answer
444 views

Regular languages in lambda calculus

With Turing machines, by imposing certain restrictions on the form of the transition function, one can get a machine that accepts only regular languages. I am wondering what is the counterpart in ...
zpavlinovic's user avatar
9 votes
0 answers
297 views

Shortest string in the intersection of regular languages

Inspired by https://codegolf.stackexchange.com/questions/53310/shortest-universal-maze-exit-string Each of the 138,172 valid mazes can be represented as a DFA with 9 states (including starting and ...
ghosts_in_the_code's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
451 views

What is an unambiguous language in the sense of Schützenberger?

I'm reading Thomas Wilke's survey on the connections between Temporal Logic and finite automata, finite semigroups and first-order logic. In Theorem 6 (by Kamp), the fragment $\mathrm{TL}[\mathsf{F},\...
Janoma's user avatar
  • 1,406