Questions tagged [formal-languages]

Questions related to formal languages, grammars, and automata theory

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16
votes
1answer
579 views

Proving closure under reversal of languages accepted by min-heap automata

This is a follow-up question of this one. In a previous question about exotic state machines, Alex ten Brink and Raphael addressed the computational capabilities of a peculiar kind of state machine: ...
19
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3answers
411 views

Is this language defined using twin primes regular?

Let $\qquad L = \{a^n \mid \exists_{p \geq n}\ p\,,\ p+2 \text{ are prime}\}.$ Is $L$ regular? This question looked suspicious at the first glance and I've realized that it is connected with the ...
16
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2answers
543 views

Languages accepted by modified versions of finite automata

A deterministic finite automaton (DFA) is a state machine model capable of accepting all and only regular languages. DFAs can be (and usually are) defined in such a way that each state must provide ...
14
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2answers
12k 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 ...
48
votes
1answer
19k 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'...
3
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3answers
2k views

Understanding $\text{handle}$ in parsing problem

Originally https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/22614/help-understand-texthandle-in-parsing-problem but unaswered there The BNF is defined as followed: ...
15
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3answers
3k views

Decidable non-context-sensitive languages

It is arguable that most languages created to describe everyday problems are context-sensitives. In the other hand, it is possible and not hard to find some languages that are not recursive or even ...
96
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5answers
89k 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....
20
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3answers
1k views

Parsing arbitrary context-free grammars, mostly short snippets

I want to parse user-defined domain specific languages. These languages are typically close to mathematical notations (I am not parsing a natural language). Users define their DSL in a BNF notation, ...
11
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1answer
4k views

Is an infinite union of context-free languages always context-free?

Let $L_1$, $L_2$, $L_3$, $\dots$ be an infinite sequence of context-free languages, each of which is defined over a common alphabet $Σ$. Let $L$ be the infinite union of $L_1$, $L_2$, $L_3$, $\dots $; i....
23
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2answers
1k views

Is there a "natural" undecidable language?

Is there any "natural" language which is undecidable? by "natural" I mean a language defined directly by properties of strings, and not via machines and their equivalent. In other words, if the ...
16
votes
3answers
3k 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?...
11
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5answers
3k views

A sufficient and necessary condition about regularity of a language

Which of the following statements is correct? sufficient and necessary conditions about regularity of a language exist but not discovered yet. There's no sufficient and necessary ...
26
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3answers
2k views

What are the conditions for a NFA for its equivalent DFA to be maximal in size?

We know that DFAs are equivalent to NFAs in expressiveness power; there is also a known algorithm for converting NFAs to DFAs (unfortunately I do now know the inventor of that algorithm), which in ...
44
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2answers
2k 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 ...
39
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
23
votes
1answer
378 views

Is there any nongeneral CFG parsing algorithm that recognises EPAL?

EPAL, the language of even palindromes, is defined as the language generated by the following unambiguous context-free grammar: $S \rightarrow a a$ $S \rightarrow b b$ $S \rightarrow a S a$ $S \...
74
votes
1answer
13k 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 ...
34
votes
9answers
4k views

What is the significance of context-sensitive (Type 1) languages?

Seeing that in the Chomsky Hierarchy Type 3 languages can be recognised by a state machine with no external memory (i.e., a finite automaton), Type 2 by a state machine with a single stack (i.e. a ...
7
votes
1answer
635 views

How to convert a non-embedding context free grammar to regular grammar?

Please note that I am aware the undecidability of the conversion of context-free grammar to regular grammar. But given the non-embedding property of the input context-free grammar, is there any ...
6
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3answers
3k views

Closure of Deterministic context-free languages under prefix

For a formal language $L \subseteq \Sigma^{*}$ I define the set Pref(L) to be: $\text{pref}(L) = \{\alpha \in \Sigma^{*} : \exists \beta \in \Sigma^{*} \text{ such that } \alpha \beta \in L\}$ ie. ...
13
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1answer
6k views

Is there a context free, non-regular language $L$, for which $L^*$ is regular?

I know that there are non-regular languages, so that $L^*$ is regular, but all examples I can find are context-sensitive but not context free. In case there are none how do you prove it?
7
votes
1answer
761 views

Converting a context free grammar to a PDA -- is my solution correct?

I'm reviewing for my midterm and wanted to post this to see if anyone can spot any errors. Im supposed to make a PDA that recognizes this CFG: $\qquad\begin{align} S &\to R1R1R1 \\ R &\to ...
11
votes
4answers
471 views

Can you specify a programming language without implementation?

Is it theoretically possible to specify a programming language for which no implementation could exist? A programming language is a way of defining functions. An implementation means a method to ...

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