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Let $T_1$ be a total Turing machine deciding language $L_1$, and let $I_1$ and $I_2$ be two separate inputs to $T_1$. Further, let $I_{c}$ be $I_2$ concatenated to $I_1$ with some separation symbol in between, and let $S_{T}(I)$ be the number of steps total TM $T$ needs to run until it accepts/rejects input $I$. I am wondering about the following two statements:

For every $T_1$ there exists another total Turing machine $T_2$ such that for all valid inputs $I_1 \neq I_2$ for $T_1$, $T_2$ accepts $I_c$ if $T_1$ accepts $I_1$ or if $T_1$ accepts $I_2$.

For every $T_1$, there exists a $T_2$ with the above property such that for all valid inputs $I_1 \neq I_2$, it holds that $S_{T_2}(I_c) < S_{T_1}(I_1) + S_{T_1}(I_2)$

To me, it seems as if the second statement would imply an impossible speed-up and should have an obvious counterexample, but I haven't been able to come up with one.

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  • $\begingroup$ While I don't have an example, I expect that there may be a language for which it's true: namely, we must compute some kind of certificate, which is used for accept/reject, and to compute certificate for $u$ we must compute certificates for all $v<u$. In result, in the process of answering the bigger question, we'll answer the smaller one. $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Aug 31 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Dmitry I agree with you that a language where the above statement holds can probably be constructed. However, I am wondering if this statement holds for any decidable language (and if not, what is a counter example) $\endgroup$ – mtoller Aug 31 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ Try some trivial languages. Language consisting of a single word should be a counterexample. $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Aug 31 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ What is the source of the quoted text? From the way the first proposition is phrased it looks like $T_2$ is allowed to depend on $T_1$ as well as $I_1$ and $I_2$. Can you confirm if this is the case? $\endgroup$ – plop Aug 31 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ What about the language $0^*$? The Turing machine complexity is $n+1$, and $|I_c|+1 = |I_1|+1+|I_2|+1$. $\endgroup$ – Yuval Filmus Sep 1 at 9:38
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Suppose that the input alphabet is $\{0,1\}$, and consider the language $L_1 = 0^*$. We can easily construct a Turing machine $T_1$ such that $S_{T_1}(I) = |I|+1$. On the other hand, $S_{T_2}(I_c) \geq |I_c|+1$. Since $|I_c|=|I_1|+1+|I_2|$, we get $$ S_{T_2}(I_c) \geq |I_1|+1+|I_2|+1 = S_{T_1}(I_1) + S_{T_1}(I_2). $$

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