Finite automata and pattern avoidance in words


AbstractWe say that a word w on a totally ordered alphabet avoids the word v if there are no subsequences in w order-equivalent to v. In this paper we suggest a new approach to the enumeration of words on at most k letters avoiding a given pattern. By studying an automaton which for fixed k generates the words avoiding a given pattern we derive several previously known results for these kind of problems, as well as many new. In particular, we give a simple proof of the formula (Electron. J. Combin. 5(1998) #R15) for exact asymptotics for the number of words on k letters of length n that avoids the pattern 12⋯(ℓ+1). Moreover, we give the first combinatorial proof of the exact formula (Enumeration of words with forbidden patterns, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 1998) for the number of words on k letters of length n avoiding a three letter permutation pattern

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