Questions related to formal languages, grammars, and automata theory

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42
votes
5answers
43k views

How to prove that a language is not regular?

We learned about the class of regular languages $\mathrm{REG}$. It is characterised by any one concept among regular expressions, finite automata and left-linear grammars, so it is easy to show that a ...
63
votes
5answers
28k views

How to prove that a language is not context-free?

We learned about the class of context-free languages $\mathrm{CFL}$. It is characterised by both context-free grammars and pushdown automata so it is easy to show that a given language is ...
28
votes
6answers
26k views

How to prove a language is regular?

There are many methods to prove that a language is not regular, but what do I need to do to prove that some language is regular? For instance, if I am given that $L$ is regular, how can I prove that ...
59
votes
4answers
67k views

How to convert finite automata to regular expressions?

Converting regular expressions into (minimal) NFA that accept the same language is easy with standard algorithms, e.g. Thompson's algorithm. The other direction seems to be more tedious, though, and ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

How to prove that a language is context-free?

There are many techniques to prove that a language is not context-free, but how do I prove that a language is context-free? What techniques are there to prove this? Obviously, one way is to exhibit ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

How to show that L = L(G)?

Specifying formal languages by giving formal grammars is a frequent task: we need grammars not only to describe languages, but also to parse them, or even do proper science. In all cases, it is ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference between an algorithm, a language and a problem?

It seems that on this site, people will often correct others for confusing "algorithms" and "problems." What are the difference between these? How do I know when I should be considering algorithms and ...
30
votes
1answer
3k views

Show that { xy ∣ |x| = |y|, x ≠ y } is context-free

I remember coming across the following question about a language that supposedly is context-free, but I was unable to find a proof of the fact. Have I perhaps misremembered the question? Anyway, ...
10
votes
2answers
811 views

Closure against right quotient with a fixed language

I'd really love your help with the following: For any fixed $L_2$ I need to decide whether there is closure under the following operators: $A_r(L)=\{x \mid \exists y \in L_2 : xy \in L\}$ ...
12
votes
3answers
928 views

What are the possible sets of word lengths in a regular language?

Given a language $L$, define the length set of $L$ as the set of lengths of words in $L$: $$\mathrm{LS}(L) = \{|u| \mid u \in L \}$$ Which sets of integers can be the length set of a regular ...
2
votes
1answer
260 views

How do I find a regular expression for a particular language?

I have a language, and I want to find a regular expression for the language. How do I do that? Is there a step-by-step, systematic procedure for that? Pretend I am just learning this topic; what ...
11
votes
4answers
18k views

How to show that a “reversed” regular language is regular

I'm stuck on the following question: "Regular languages are precisely those accepted by finite automata. Given this fact, show that if the language $L$ is accepted by some finite automaton, then ...
30
votes
2answers
695 views

Determining capabilities of a min-heap (or other exotic) state machines

See the end of this post for some clarification on the definition(s) of min-heap automata. One can imagine using a variety of data structures for storing information for use by state machines. For ...
3
votes
2answers
680 views

Converting to CFG from a CFL? [duplicate]

I am trying to learn CFG. Now to make a CFG from a CFL it is really difficult for me. Is there any simple rule or steps so that I can easily find a CFG for a CFL. I am trying to solve one problem ...
40
votes
1answer
7k views

Language theoretic comparison of LL and LR grammars

People often say that LR(k) parsers are more powerful than LL(k) parsers. These statements are vague most of the time; in particular, should we compare the classes for a fixed $k$ or the union over ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Languages that satisfy the pumping lemma but aren't regular?

Given a regular language $L$, then it is easy to prove that there is a constant $N$ such that is $\sigma \in L$, with $\lvert \sigma \rvert \ge N$ there exist strings $\alpha$, $\beta$ and $\gamma$ ...
1
vote
2answers
275 views

Find a pushdown automaton for { x#y ∣ x ≠ y }

I was told to built a PDA that recognizes the following language: $$L = \{x\#y \mid x,y \in \{0,1\}^{\ast} \wedge x \neq y\}$$ My attempt is basically to push $x$ to the stack for every $1$ and $0$ ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Example of a non-context free language that nonetheless CAN be pumped?

So basically L satisfies the conditions of the pumping lemma for CFL's but is not a CFL (that is possible according to the definition of the lemma).
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Prove that regular languages are closed under the cycle operator

I've got in a few days an exam and have problems to solve this task. Let $L$ be a regular language over the alphabet $\Sigma$. We have the operation $\operatorname{cycle}(L) = \{ xy \mid x,y\in ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the complement of { ww | … } context-free?

Define the language $L$ as $L = \{a, b\}^* - \{ww\mid w \in \{a, b\}^*\}$. In other words, $L$ contains the words that cannot be expressed as some word repeated twice. Is $L$ context-free or not? ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Context Free Grammar for language $L=\{a^ib^j \mid i,j \ge 0; i \ne 2j\}$

Can someone help with this: $L=\{a^ib^j \mid i,j \ge 0 \text{ and } i \ne 2j\}$ I'm trying to write a grammar for this language? I don't know how to do this. I tried this: $S \rightarrow aaAb ...
0
votes
1answer
359 views

Is regularity of the language accepted by a given Turing machine a semi-decidable property?

Given is the definition of a general problem: $\{ \langle M, S\rangle \mid M \text{ is a } TM, L_M \in S\}$. In words: Given a TM M, does M decide a language that is an element of the given set of ...
8
votes
6answers
475 views

Is $A$ regular if $A^{2}$ is regular?

If $A^2$ is regular, does it follow that $A$ is regular? My attempt on a proof: Yes, for contradiction assume that $A$ is not regular. Then $A^2 = A \cdot A$. Since concatenation of two ...
27
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there inherently ambiguous and deterministic context-free languages?

Let us call a context-free language deterministic if and only if it can be accepted by a deterministic push-down automaton, and nondeterministic otherwise. Let us call a context-free language ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Single-tape Turing Machines with write-protected input recognize only Regular Languages

Here is the problem: Prove that single-tape Turing Machines that cannot write on the portion of the tape containing the input string recognize only regular languages. My idea is to prove that this ...
8
votes
2answers
203 views

Regularity of the exact middle of words from a regular language

Let $L$ be a regular language. Is the language $L_2 = \{y : \exists x,z\ \ s.t.|x|=|z|\ and\ xyz \in L \}$ regular? I know it's very similar to the question here, but the catch is that it's not a ...
8
votes
5answers
801 views

Language of the values of an affine function

Write $\bar n$ for the decimal expansion of $n$ (with no leading 0). Let $a$ and $b$ be integers, with $a > 0$. Consider the language of the decimal expansions ...
1
vote
1answer
555 views

Context Free Grammar for language L

Can someone help with this: $L=\{a^ib^j \mid i,j \ge 1 \text{ and } i \ne j \text{ and } i<2j\}$ I'm trying to write a grammar for this language? I tried this: $S \to S_1 \mid S_2 \\ S_1 \to aXb ...
13
votes
2answers
511 views

Which languages do Perl-compatible regular expressions recognize?

As the title says, I spent a couple of hours last weekend trying to wrap up my mind about the class of languages matched by Perl-compatible regular expressions, excluding any matching operator that ...
12
votes
1answer
3k views

Construct a PDA for the complement of $a^nb^nc^n$

I am wondering if this is even possible, since $\{a^n b^n c^n \mid n \geq 0\} \not\in \mathrm{CFL}$. Therefore a PDA that can distinguish a word $w\in\{a^n b^n c^n \mid n \geq 0\}$ from the rest of ...
12
votes
2answers
699 views

Number of words of a given length in a regular language

Is there an algebraic characterization of the number of words of a given length in a regular language? Wikipedia states a result somewhat imprecisely: For any regular language $L$ there exist ...
15
votes
1answer
572 views

Are context-free languages in $a^*b^*$ closed under complement?

The context-free languages are not closed under complement, we know that. As far as I understand, context-free languages that are a subset of $a^*b^*$ for some letters $a,b$ are closed under ...
5
votes
1answer
662 views

Are DCFLs closed under reversal?

According to this chart, DCFLs are closed under reversal. However, I am not convinced as the intuitive proof (reversing the arrows of the controlling finite state machine and switching the pushes and ...
2
votes
2answers
192 views

Is {wxw^r} a regular language?

Is $\{ WxW^{\mathrm{R}} \mid W,x\in\{0,1\}^+\}$ a regular language? If so, why? The notation $W^{\mathrm{R}}$ means the reverse string of $W$? If we consider the best answer in this solution, ...
14
votes
4answers
6k views

Using Pumping Lemma to prove language $L = \{(01)^m 2^m \mid m \ge0\}$ is not regular

I'm trying to use pumping lemma to prove that $L = \{(01)^m 2^m \mid m \ge0\}$ is not regular. This is what I have so far: Assume $L$ is regular and let $p$ be the pumping length, so $w = (01)^p ...
10
votes
2answers
986 views

If $L$ is a subset of $\{0\}^*$, then how can we show that $L^*$ is regular?

Say, $L \subseteq \{0\}^*$. Then how can we prove that $L^*$ is regular? If $L$ is regular, then of course $L^*$ is also regular. If $L$ is finite, then it is regular and again $L^*$ is regular. Also ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Easy proof for context-free languages being closed under cyclic shift

The cyclic shift (also called rotation or conjugation) of a language $L$ is defined as $\{ yx \mid xy \in L \}$. According to wikipedia (and here) the context-free languages are closed under this ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Decidablity of Languages of Grammars and Automata

Note this is a question related to study in a CS course at a university, it is NOT homework and can be found here under Fall 2011 exam2. Here are the two questions I'm looking at from a past exam. ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I prove this language is not context-free?

I have the following language $\qquad \{0^i 1^j 2^k \mid 0 \leq i \leq j \leq k\}$ I am trying to determine which Chomsky language class it fits into. I can see how it could be made using a ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

operations that aren't closed for undecidable languages

Do there exist undecidable languages such that their union/intersection/concatenated language is decidable? What is the physical interpretation of such example because in general, undecidable ...
5
votes
2answers
163 views

Why is this language involving reversal regular?

For a language to be regular it needs to be recognized by DFA/NFA. Let $L = \{ xy^rzyx^r \mid |x| , |y|, |z| \ge 1 \}$ over the alphabet $\{0,1\}$. $x^r$ means the reverse of $x$. A DFA has no ...
5
votes
4answers
425 views

Without using pumping lemma, can we determine if $A =\{ww \mid w \in \{0,1\}^* \}$ is non regular?

Without using pumping lemma, can we prove $A =\{ww \mid w \in \{0,1\}^* \}$ is non regular? Is $L= \{w \mid w \in \{0,1\}^* \}$ non regular? I'm thinking of using concatenation to prove the former ...
4
votes
1answer
608 views

DFA for a strings whose every subsequence of length five has at least two zeroes

I have a regular language consisting of such {0,1}^k sequences, in which every subsequence of length 5 has at least two 0's in ...
4
votes
3answers
351 views

How to generate a context sensitive grammar for www

I am trying to solve for my exam coming up and have no clue how to generate the grammar for Context sensitive languages for example how do i proceed on this kind of question. Give a ...
4
votes
2answers
361 views

$L(M) = L$ where $M$ is a $TM$ that moves only to the right side so $L$ is regular

Suppose that $L(M) = L$ where $M$ is a $TM$ that moves only to the right side. I need to Show that $L$ is regular. I'd relly like some help, I tried to think of any way to prove it but I didn't ...
2
votes
1answer
369 views

are regular languages closed under division

I am trying to solve this question which appeared in previous exam paper Can someone help me what i am failing to understand For languages $A$ and $B$ define $A \div B = \{x \in \Sigma^{\ast} : xy ...
2
votes
1answer
576 views

What are the meanings of metalanguage and metasyntax and EBNF?

I am trying to understand what BNF, metalanguage, and metasyntax are. From https://proofwiki.org/wiki/Definition:Metalanguage A metalanguage of a formal language is a formal language used to ...
2
votes
2answers
463 views

Syntax and formal grammar of a formal language

For a formal language, I wonder what differences and relations are between its syntax and its formal grammar. A formal grammar is a set of formation rules that describe how to generate the strings ...
2
votes
0answers
152 views

Constructing a Context Free Grammar for checking non-equality of strings [duplicate]

I have been studying the book Introduction to Computation by Michael Sipser on my own, and I'm stuck on this exercise from the chapter on Pushdown Automato and Context-Free Languages. The exercise is ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Designing a PDA w/o $\epsilon$-moves and $\leq 2$ states to accept an $\epsilon$-free CFL by final state

I understand that any CFL can be accepted by a PDA by final state or empty store but I have been rather stumped by this question. The question states that the PDA has at most 2 states. Clearly 1 will ...