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Algebraic Data Language Theory

Clemens Ley ( OUCL )
In algebraic language theory, certain algebraic objects, primarily monoids, are used to analyze the structure of string and tree languages. A fundamental result states that a language is regular iff it is accepted by a finite monoid. Subclasses of regular languages, such as star-free languages correspond to natural classes of finite monoids. Most prominently, Schützenberger, McNaughton, and Papert showed that a regular language is first order definable iff it is star-free iff it is accepted by an aperiodic monoid.

The study of data languages -- languages over an infinite alphabet — is motivated by applications in verification and XML processing. In this talk I will report about a recent extension of algebraic techniques to the study of data languages. A class of infinite monoids, finite-orbit data monoids, has been proposed by Bojanczyk. We present a logic, called rigidly-guarded monadic second order logic, that defines exactly the languages accepted by finite-orbit data monoids. A theorem akin to Schützenberger's Theorem also carries over to data languages: We show that a language is definable in rigidly-guarded first order logic iff it is accepted by an aperiodic data monoid.



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