# Questions tagged [formal-languages]

Questions related to formal languages, grammars, and automata theory

363 questions
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
10answers
102k 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 ...
5answers
60k 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 context-free....
8answers
67k 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 ...
2answers
23k 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 ...
4answers
151k 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 ...
1answer
5k 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 ...
1answer
6k 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 ...
1answer
11k 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, here'...
1answer
11k 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 ...
2answers
6k 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 ...
1answer
4k 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 $\gamma$ ...
2answers
1k 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 ...
3answers
1k 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 language?...
2answers
4k 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 ...
2answers
1k 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 ...
2answers
5k 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 ...
3answers
5k 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).
2answers
1k views

1answer
7k views

2answers
805 views

### Pumping lemma: if you can keep pumping, what does this tell you?

Hypothetically, let's say you are using the pumping lemma for either regular or context free languages. Now using either, you come across a case that remains true despite pumping it. In this situation,...
3answers
1k 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, ...
1answer
820 views

### What's wrong with my pumping lemma proof?

The language $L = \{0^{2n} \space |\space n \ge 0 \}$ is obviously regular – for example, it matches the regular expression $(00)^*$. But the following pumping lemma argument seems to show it's ...
4answers
51k views

2answers
4k 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 $0$ ...
1answer
1k views

2answers
1k 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 ...
1answer
1k views

2answers
981 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 ...
1answer
686 views

### What is one method used to prove each palindrome is in its own Myhill-Nerode equivalence class?

I understand how you can use a contradiction in regard to a DPDA to show a language has finitely many Myhill-Nerode equivalence classes, but what is the method used to show each string of a language ...
2answers
9k views

### Are all context-free and regular languages efficiently decidable?

I came across this figure which shows that context-free and regular languages are (proper) subsets of efficient problems (supposedly $\mathrm{P}$). I perfectly understand that efficient problems are a ...
6answers
5k views

### What is the Relationship Between Programming Languages, Regular Expressions and Formal Languages

I've looked around the net for an answer to this question and it seems as if everybody implicitly knows the answer except me. Presumably this is because the only people who care are those who have had ...