Editors: Catuscia Palamidessi, Natarajan Shankar, Alexandra Silva

We investigate a famous decision problem in automata theory: separation. Given a class of language C, the separation problem for C takes as input two regular languages and asks whether there exists a third one which belongs to C, includes the first one and is disjoint from the second. Typically, obtaining an algorithm for separation yields a deep understanding of the investigated class C. This explains why a lot of effort has been devoted to finding algorithms for the most prominent classes. Here, we are interested in classes within concatenation hierarchies. Such hierarchies are built using a generic construction process: one starts from an initial class called the basis and builds new levels by applying generic operations. The most famous one, the dot-depth hierarchy of Brzozowski and Cohen, classifies the languages definable in first-order logic. Moreover, it was shown by Thomas that it corresponds to the quantifier alternation hierarchy of first-order logic: each level in the dot-depth corresponds to the languages that can be defined with a prescribed number of quantifier blocks. Finding separation algorithms for all levels in this hierarchy is among the most famous open problems in automata theory. Our main theorem is generic: we show that separation is decidable for the level 3/2 of any concatenation hierarchy whose basis is finite. Furthermore, in the special case of the dot-depth, we push this result to the level 5/2. In logical terms, this solves separation for […]

To model relaxed memory, we propose confusion-free event structures over an alphabet with a justification relation. Executions are modeled by justified configurations, where every read event has a justifying write event. Justification alone is too weak a criterion, since it allows cycles of the kind that result in so-called thin-air reads. Acyclic justification forbids such cycles, but also invalidates event reorderings that result from compiler optimizations and dynamic instruction scheduling. We propose the notion of well-justification, based on a game-like model, which strikes a middle ground. We show that well-justified configurations satisfy the DRF theorem: in any data-race free program, all well-justified configurations are sequentially consistent. We also show that rely-guarantee reasoning is sound for well-justified configurations, but not for justified configurations. For example, well-justified configurations are type-safe. Well-justification allows many, but not all reorderings performed by relaxed memory. In particular, it fails to validate the commutation of independent reads. We discuss variations that may address these shortcomings.

Hidden Markov Models, HMM's, are mathematical models of Markov processes with state that is hidden, but from which information can leak. They are typically represented as 3-way joint-probability distributions. We use HMM's as denotations of probabilistic hidden-state sequential programs: for that, we recast them as `abstract' HMM's, computations in the Giry monad $\mathbb{D}$, and we equip them with a partial order of increasing security. However to encode the monadic type with hiding over some state $\mathcal{X}$ we use $\mathbb{D}\mathcal{X}\to \mathbb{D}^2\mathcal{X}$ rather than the conventional $\mathcal{X}{\to}\mathbb{D}\mathcal{X}$ that suffices for Markov models whose state is not hidden. We illustrate the $\mathbb{D}\mathcal{X}\to \mathbb{D}^2\mathcal{X}$ construction with a small Haskell prototype. We then present uncertainty measures as a generalisation of the extant diversity of probabilistic entropies, with characteristic analytic properties for them, and show how the new entropies interact with the order of increasing security. Furthermore, we give a `backwards' uncertainty-transformer semantics for HMM's that is dual to the `forwards' abstract HMM's - it is an analogue of the duality between forwards, relational semantics and backwards, predicate-transformer semantics for imperative programs with demonic choice. Finally, we argue that, from this new denotational-semantic viewpoint, one can see that the Dalenius desideratum for statistical databases is […]

We introduce the notion of feedback computable functions from $2^\omega$ to $2^\omega$, extending feedback Turing computation in analogy with the standard notion of computability for functions from $2^\omega$ to $2^\omega$. We then show that the feedback computable functions are precisely the effectively Borel functions. With this as motivation we define the notion of a feedback computable function on a structure, independent of any coding of the structure as a real. We show that this notion is absolute, and as an example characterize those functions that are computable from a Gandy ordinal with some finite subset distinguished.

This paper presents a complete axiomatization of Monadic Second-Order Logic (MSO) over infinite trees. MSO on infinite trees is a rich system, and its decidability ("Rabin's Tree Theorem") is one of the most powerful known results concerning the decidability of logics. By a complete axiomatization we mean a complete deduction system with a polynomial-time recognizable set of axioms. By naive enumeration of formal derivations, this formally gives a proof of Rabin's Tree Theorem. The deduction system consists of the usual rules for second-order logic seen as two-sorted first-order logic, together with the natural adaptation In addition, it contains an axiom scheme expressing the (positional) determinacy of certain parity games. The main difficulty resides in the limited expressive power of the language of MSO. We actually devise an extension of MSO, called Functional (Monadic) Second-Order Logic (FSO), which allows us to uniformly manipulate (hereditarily) finite sets and corresponding labeled trees, and whose language allows for higher abstraction than that of MSO.