A discounted-sum automaton (NDA) is a nondeterministic finite automaton with edge weights, valuing a run by the discounted sum of visited edge weights. More precisely, the weight in the i-th position of the run is divided by $\lambda^i$, where the discount factor $\lambda$ is a fixed rational number greater than 1. The value of a word is the minimal value of the automaton runs on it. Discounted summation is a common and useful measuring scheme, especially for infinite sequences, reflecting the assumption that earlier weights are more important than later weights. Unfortunately, determinization of NDAs, which is often essential in formal verification, is, in general, not possible. We provide positive news, showing that every NDA with an integral discount factor is determinizable. We complete the picture by proving that the integers characterize exactly the discount factors that guarantee determinizability: for every nonintegral rational discount factor $\lambda$, there is a nondeterminizable $\lambda$-NDA. We also prove that the class of NDAs with integral discount factors enjoys closure under the algebraic operations min, max, addition, and subtraction, which is not the case for general NDAs nor for deterministic NDAs. For general NDAs, we look into approximate determinization, which is always possible as the influence of a word's suffix decays. We show that the naive approach, of unfolding the automaton computations up to a sufficient level, is doubly exponential in the discount factor. We provide an alternative construction for approximate determinization, which is singly exponential in the discount factor, in the precision, and in the number of states. We also prove matching lower bounds, showing that the exponential dependency on each of these three parameters cannot be avoided. All our results hold equally for automata over finite words and for automata over infinite words.

Source : oai:arXiv.org:1401.3957

DOI : 10.2168/LMCS-10(1:10)2014

Volume: Volume 10, Issue 1

Published on: February 13, 2014

Submitted on: May 22, 2013

Keywords: Computer Science - Formal Languages and Automata Theory,Computer Science - Logic in Computer Science

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