Let $A= \{L \mid L \;\text{is one-counter and \(\bar{L}\) is also one-counter} \}$

Clearly, $\text{Deterministic one-counter} \subseteq A$

Is it the case that $ A = \text{Deterministic one-counter}$?

I know that for context-free languages the analogue is not the case. For example, let $P =\{ ww^r\}$. Then both $P$ and $\bar{P}$ are context-free but $P$ is not deterministic. Hence $A$ defines a (strict) subset of the context-free languages.

The question is: can we construct a similar one-counter example for which the same holds?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ what is "one-counter"? $\endgroup$
    – Ran G.
    Mar 19, 2013 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ A PDA with only one kind of symbols (aside from the bottom symbol) on its stack. $\endgroup$
    – frafl
    Mar 19, 2013 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ what do you mean by $x_{\lfloor|c|/2\rfloor}=a$ ? $\endgroup$
    – e_noether
    Mar 20, 2013 at 4:20
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    $\begingroup$ @emmy: How would a (nondeterministic) 1CM decide $\overline{L}$? $\endgroup$
    – Shaull
    Mar 20, 2013 at 8:08
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    $\begingroup$ @emmy: Ooops, typo: I meant of course $x_{\lfloor x/2\rfloor}$ i.e. the symbol at the $\lfloor x/2\rfloor$-th position. $\endgroup$
    – frafl
    Mar 20, 2013 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


In response to Shaull's comment above : enter image description here enter image description here

The first one is an image of 1-counter accepting $a^ib^j$ s.t. $j<i$

The secong one is an image of 1-counter accepting $a^ib^j$ s.t. $j>i,\ j<2i$

The third one is an image of 1-counter accepting $a^ib^j$ s.t. $j>2i$

Here a/-/plus means on seeing a, irrespective of the counter value, increment the counter. b/>1?/sub means on seeing b, if counter value is greater than 1, then decrement the counter.

nop => no operation

$\lambda $ => empty string

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Quite a long answer which is essentially just "Because its the union of three languages, each recognizing one interval of $i$s relative to $j$". $\endgroup$
    – frafl
    Mar 20, 2013 at 13:18
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    $\begingroup$ yeah :) just wanted to prove it can be done by 1-counter automata $\endgroup$
    – e_noether
    Mar 20, 2013 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ It's OK to elaborate a bit especially if it's a nice exercise for you, but please add a short summary. Additionally you should not use an answer to reply to a comment, but in this case this reply may become an actual answer to your question, so I think it's OK, too. $\endgroup$
    – frafl
    Mar 20, 2013 at 13:26
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    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, there is no proof here. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Mar 20, 2013 at 13:40

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