On Repetition Languages

Authors Orna Kupferman, Ofer Leshkowitz

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Orna Kupferman
  • School of Engineering and Computer Science, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
Ofer Leshkowitz
  • School of Engineering and Computer Science, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel


We thank Michael Kaminski for asking us whether R^ω is DBW-recognizable for every regular language R.

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Orna Kupferman and Ofer Leshkowitz. On Repetition Languages. In 45th International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 170, pp. 59:1-59:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


A regular language R of finite words induces three repetition languages of infinite words: the language lim(R), which contains words with infinitely many prefixes in R, the language ∞ R, which contains words with infinitely many disjoint subwords in R, and the language R^ω, which contains infinite concatenations of words in R. Specifying behaviors, the three repetition languages provide three different ways of turning a specification of a finite behavior into an infinite one. We study the expressive power required for recognizing repetition languages, in particular whether they can always be recognized by a deterministic Büchi word automaton (DBW), the blow up in going from an automaton for R to automata for the repetition languages, and the complexity of related decision problems. For lim R and ∞ R, most of these problems have already been studied or are easy. We focus on R^ω. Its study involves some new and interesting results about additional repetition languages, in particular R^#, which contains exactly all words with unboundedly many concatenations of words in R. We show that R^ω is DBW-recognizable iff R^# is ω-regular iff R^# = R^ω, and there are languages for which these criteria do not hold. Thus, R^ω need not be DBW-recognizable. In addition, when exists, the construction of a DBW for R^ω may involve a 2^{O(n log n)} blow-up, and deciding whether R^ω is DBW-recognizable, for R given by a nondeterministic automaton, is PSPACE-complete. Finally, we lift the difference between R^# and R^ω to automata on finite words and study a variant of Büchi automata where a word is accepted if (possibly different) runs on it visit accepting states unboundedly many times.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Automata over infinite objects
  • Büchi automata
  • Expressive power
  • Succinctness


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