We define the universal type class of a sequence x n, in analogy to the notion used in the classical method of types. Two sequences of the same length are said to be of the same universal (LZ) type if and only if they yield the same set of phrases in the incremental parsing of Ziv and Lempel (1978). We show that the empirical probability distributions of any finite order of two sequences of the same universal type converge, in the variational sense, as the sequence length increases. Consequently, the normalized logarithms of the probabilities assigned by any kth order probability assignment to two sequences of the same universal type, as well as the kth order empirical entropies of the sequences, converge for all k. We study the size of a universal type class, and show that its asymptotic behavior parallels that of the conventional counterpart, with the LZ78 code length playing the role of the empirical entropy. We also estimate the number of universal types for sequences of length n, and show that it is of the form exp((1+o(1))γ n/log n) for a well characterized constant γ. We describe algorithms for enumerating the sequences in a universal type class, and for drawing a sequence from the class with uniform probability. As an application, we consider the problem of universal simulation of individual sequences. A sequence drawn with uniform probability from the universal type class of x n is an optimal simulation of x n in a well defined mathematical sense
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