21,745 research outputs found

    Separating Regular Languages with First-Order Logic

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    Given two languages, a separator is a third language that contains the first one and is disjoint from the second one. We investigate the following decision problem: given two regular input languages of finite words, decide whether there exists a first-order definable separator. We prove that in order to answer this question, sufficient information can be extracted from semigroups recognizing the input languages, using a fixpoint computation. This yields an EXPTIME algorithm for checking first-order separability. Moreover, the correctness proof of this algorithm yields a stronger result, namely a description of a possible separator. Finally, we generalize this technique to answer the same question for regular languages of infinite words

    Separation for dot-depth two

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    The dot-depth hierarchy of Brzozowski and Cohen classifies the star-free languages of finite words. By a theorem of McNaughton and Papert, these are also the first-order definable languages. The dot-depth rose to prominence following the work of Thomas, who proved an exact correspondence with the quantifier alternation hierarchy of first-order logic: each level in the dot-depth hierarchy consists of all languages that can be defined with a prescribed number of quantifier blocks. One of the most famous open problems in automata theory is to settle whether the membership problem is decidable for each level: is it possible to decide whether an input regular language belongs to this level? Despite a significant research effort, membership by itself has only been solved for low levels. A recent breakthrough was achieved by replacing membership with a more general problem: separation. Given two input languages, one has to decide whether there exists a third language in the investigated level containing the first language and disjoint from the second. The motivation is that: (1) while more difficult, separation is more rewarding (2) it provides a more convenient framework (3) all recent membership algorithms are reductions to separation for lower levels. We present a separation algorithm for dot-depth two. While this is our most prominent application, our result is more general. We consider a family of hierarchies that includes the dot-depth: concatenation hierarchies. They are built via a generic construction process. One first chooses an initial class, the basis, which is the lowest level in the hierarchy. Further levels are built by applying generic operations. Our main theorem states that for any concatenation hierarchy whose basis is finite, separation is decidable for level one. In the special case of the dot-depth, this can be lifted to level two using previously known results

    The Covering Problem

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    An important endeavor in computer science is to understand the expressive power of logical formalisms over discrete structures, such as words. Naturally, "understanding" is not a mathematical notion. This investigation requires therefore a concrete objective to capture this understanding. In the literature, the standard choice for this objective is the membership problem, whose aim is to find a procedure deciding whether an input regular language can be defined in the logic under investigation. This approach was cemented as the right one by the seminal work of Sch\"utzenberger, McNaughton and Papert on first-order logic and has been in use since then. However, membership questions are hard: for several important fragments, researchers have failed in this endeavor despite decades of investigation. In view of recent results on one of the most famous open questions, namely the quantifier alternation hierarchy of first-order logic, an explanation may be that membership is too restrictive as a setting. These new results were indeed obtained by considering more general problems than membership, taking advantage of the increased flexibility of the enriched mathematical setting. This opens a promising research avenue and efforts have been devoted at identifying and solving such problems for natural fragments. Until now however, these problems have been ad hoc, most fragments relying on a specific one. A unique new problem replacing membership as the right one is still missing. The main contribution of this paper is a suitable candidate to play this role: the Covering Problem. We motivate this problem with 3 arguments. First, it admits an elementary set theoretic formulation, similar to membership. Second, we are able to reexplain or generalize all known results with this problem. Third, we develop a mathematical framework and a methodology tailored to the investigation of this problem

    Concentration of the Brownian bridge on Cartan-Hadamard manifolds with pinched negative sectional curvature

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    We study the rate of concentration of a Brownian bridge in time one around the corresponding geodesical segment on a Cartan-Hadamard manifold with pinched negative sectional curvature, when the distance between the two extremities tends to infinity. This improves on previous results by A. Eberle, and one of us. Along the way, we derive a new asymptotic estimate for the logarithmic derivative of the heat kernel on such manifolds, in bounded time and with one space parameter tending to infinity, which can be viewed as a counterpart to Bismut's asymptotic formula in small time

    Long Range Structure of the Nucleon

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    The long range structure of the nucleon is discussed starting from the old model of a quark bag with a pion cloud (``cloudy bag'') carrying on to the more recent ideas of the parton model of the nucleon. On the basis of the most recent measurements of the form factors at MAMI, JLab and MIT quantitative results for nucleon charge densities are presented within both non-relativistic and relativistic frameworks.Comment: 14 pages, 14 figure
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