A Weyl Criterion for Finite-State Dimension and Applications

Authors Jack H. Lutz , Satyadev Nandakumar , Subin Pulari

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Jack H. Lutz
  • Department of Computer Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA
Satyadev Nandakumar
  • Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, U.P., India
Subin Pulari
  • Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, U.P., India


The authors would like to thank Michael Hochman for technical clarifications regarding his paper [Hochman, 2014]. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.

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Jack H. Lutz, Satyadev Nandakumar, and Subin Pulari. A Weyl Criterion for Finite-State Dimension and Applications. In 48th International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 272, pp. 65:1-65:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


Finite-state dimension, introduced early in this century as a finite-state version of classical Hausdorff dimension, is a quantitative measure of the lower asymptotic density of information in an infinite sequence over a finite alphabet, as perceived by finite automata. Finite-state dimension is a robust concept that now has equivalent formulations in terms of finite-state gambling, lossless finite-state data compression, finite-state prediction, entropy rates, and automatic Kolmogorov complexity. The 1972 Schnorr-Stimm dichotomy theorem gave the first automata-theoretic characterization of normal sequences, which had been studied in analytic number theory since Borel defined them in 1909. This theorem implies, in present-day terminology, that a sequence (or a real number having this sequence as its base-b expansion) is normal if and only if it has finite-state dimension 1. One of the most powerful classical tools for investigating normal numbers is the 1916 Weyl’s criterion, which characterizes normality in terms of exponential sums. Such sums are well studied objects with many connections to other aspects of analytic number theory, and this has made use of Weyl’s criterion especially fruitful. This raises the question whether Weyl’s criterion can be generalized from finite-state dimension 1 to arbitrary finite-state dimensions, thereby making it a quantitative tool for studying data compression, prediction, etc. i.e., Can we characterize all compression ratios using exponential sums?. This paper does exactly this. We extend Weyl’s criterion from a characterization of sequences with finite-state dimension 1 to a criterion that characterizes every finite-state dimension. This turns out not to be a routine generalization of the original Weyl criterion. Even though exponential sums may diverge for non-normal numbers, finite-state dimension can be characterized in terms of the dimensions of the subsequence limits of the exponential sums. In case the exponential sums are convergent, they converge to the Fourier coefficients of a probability measure whose dimension is precisely the finite-state dimension of the sequence. This new and surprising connection helps us bring Fourier analytic techniques to bear in proofs in finite-state dimension, yielding a new perspective. We demonstrate the utility of our criterion by substantially improving known results about preservation of finite-state dimension under arithmetic. We strictly generalize the results by Aistleitner and Doty, Lutz and Nandakumar for finite-state dimensions under arithmetic operations. We use the method of exponential sums and our Weyl criterion to obtain the following new result: If y is a number having finite-state strong dimension 0, then dim_FS(x+qy) = dim_FS(x) and Dim_FS(x+qy) = Dim_FS(x) for any x ∈ ℝ and q ∈ ℚ. This generalization uses recent estimates obtained in the work of Hochman [Hochman, 2014] regarding the entropy of convolutions of probability measures.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Information theory
  • Finite-state dimension
  • Finite-state compression
  • Weyl’s criterion
  • Exponential sums
  • Normal numbers


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