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Higher-Order Nonemptiness Step by Step

Author Paweł Parys



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Paweł Parys
  • Institute of Informatics, University of Warsaw, Poland

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Paweł Parys. Higher-Order Nonemptiness Step by Step. In 40th IARCS Annual Conference on Foundations of Software Technology and Theoretical Computer Science (FSTTCS 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 182, pp. 53:1-53:14, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)
https://doi.org/10.4230/LIPIcs.FSTTCS.2020.53

Abstract

We show a new simple algorithm that checks whether a given higher-order grammar generates a nonempty language of trees. The algorithm amounts to a procedure that transforms a grammar of order n to a grammar of order n-1, preserving nonemptiness, and increasing the size only exponentially. After repeating the procedure n times, we obtain a grammar of order 0, whose nonemptiness can be easily checked. Since the size grows exponentially at each step, the overall complexity is n-EXPTIME, which is known to be optimal. More precisely, the transformation (and hence the whole algorithm) is linear in the size of the grammar, assuming that the arity of employed nonterminals is bounded by a constant. The same algorithm allows to check whether an infinite tree generated by a higher-order recursion scheme is accepted by an alternating safety (or reachability) automaton, because this question can be reduced to the nonemptiness problem by taking a product of the recursion scheme with the automaton. A proof of correctness of the algorithm is formalised in the proof assistant Coq. Our transformation is motivated by a similar transformation of Asada and Kobayashi (2020) changing a word grammar of order n to a tree grammar of order n-1. The step-by-step approach can be opposed to previous algorithms solving the nonemptiness problem "in one step", being compulsorily more complicated.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Rewrite systems
Keywords
  • Higher-order grammars
  • Nonemptiness
  • Model-checking
  • Transformation
  • Order reduction

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