# Properties of Regular Languages

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1 Properties of Regular Languages SITE : mirian/ Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 1/3

2 Algebraic Laws for Regular Expressions Two expressions with variables are equivalent if whatever languages we substitute for the variables the results of the two expressions are the same language. Examples in the algebra of arithmetic: = or x + y = y + x. Like arithmetic expressions, the regular expressions have a number of laws that work for them. Many of these are similar to the laws of arithmetic, if we think of union as additional and concatenation as multiplication. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 2/3

3 Associativity and Commutativity Commutativity is the property of an operator that says we can switch the order of its operands and get the same result. Associativity is the property of an operator that allow us regroup the operands when the operator is applied twice. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 3/3

4 Associativity and Commutativity For regular expressions, we have: L + M = M + L Commutative law for union: we may make the union of two languages in either order (L + M) + N = L + (M + N) Associative law for union: we may take the union of three languages either by taking the union of the first two initially, or taking the union of the last two initially. Together with the commutative law we can take the union of any collection of languages with any order and grouping, and the result will be the same. Intuitively, a string is in L 1 L 2... L k iff it is in one or more of the L i s. (L.M).N = L.(M.N) Associative law for concatenation: we can concatenate three-languages by concatenating either the first two or the last two initially Clearly the law L.M = M.L is FALSE Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 4/3

5 Identities and Annihilator An identity for an operator is a value that when the operator is applied to the identity and some other value, the result is the other value. An annihilator for an operator is value that when the operator is applied to the annihilator and some other value, the result is the annihilator. For regular expressions we have: + L = L + = L ǫ.l = L.ǫ = L.L = L. = Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 5/3

6 Distributive laws A distributive law involves two operators and asserts that one operator can be pushed down to be applied to each argument of the other operator individually For regular expressions we have: L.(M + N) = LM + LN (M + N).L = ML + NL Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 6/3

7 The Idempotent Law An operator is idempotent if the result of applying it to two of the same values as arguments is that value. Idempotent Law for union: L + L = L If we take the union of two identical expressions, we can replace them by one copy of the expression. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 7/3

8 Laws Involving Closures (L ) = L = ǫ ǫ = ǫ L + = LL = L L Proof: Recall that L + is defined to be L + LL + LLL Also, L = ǫ + L + LL + LLL Thus, LL = Lǫ + LL + LLL +... When we remember that Lǫ = L, we see that the infinite expressions for LL and L + are the same. That proves L + = LL. The proof L + = L L is similar L = L + + ǫ L? = ǫ + L Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 8/3

9 Discovering Laws for Regular Expressions There is an infinite variety of laws about regular expressions that might be proposed. Is there a general methodology that will make our proofs of correct laws easy? This technique is closely tied to the regular-expressions operators, and CANNOT be extended to expressions involving some OTHER operators (such as intersection) Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 9/3

10 The test for a regular expression algebraic law The test for whether E = F is true, where E and F are two regular expressions with the same set of variables, is: 1. Convert E and F to concrete regular expressions (i.e., one with no variables) C and D, respectively, by replacing each variable by a concrete symbol. 2. Test whether L(C) = L(D). If so, then E = F is a true law, and if not then the law is false Notice that this is an ad-hoc method to decide equality of the pairs or languages. If the languages are not the same, than it is sufficient to provide one counterexample: a single string that is in one language but not in the other. 3. Examples: Prove or disprove (a) (b) (c) (L + M) = (L M ) L = L L L + ML = (L + M)L Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 10/3

11 Closure Properties of Regular Languages Let L and M be regular languages. Then the following languages are all regular: Union: L M Intersection: L M Complement: N Difference: L \ M Reversal: L R = w R : w L Closure: L Concatenation: L.M Homomorphism: Inverse homomorphism: h(l) = {h(w) w L, h is a homomorphism } h 1 (L) = {w Σ h(w)l, h : Σ is a homomorphism} Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 11/3

12 Closure under Union For any regular languages L and M, then L M is regular. Proof: Since L and M are regular, they have regular expressions, say: Let L = L(E) and M = L(F). Then L M = L(E + F) by the definition of the + operator. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 12/3

13 Closure under complementation If L is a regular language over alphabet Σ then L = Σ \ L is also regular. Proof: Let L be recognized by a DFA A = (Q,Σ, δ, q 0, F). Then L = L(B) where B is the DFA B = (Q,Σ, δ, q 0, Q \ F). That is, B is exactly like A, but the accepting states of A have become the nonaccepting states of B and vice-versa. Then w is in L(B) iff ˆδ(q 0, w) is in Q \ F, which occurs iff w is not in L(A). Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 13/3

14 Closure under intersection If L and M are regular languages, then so is L M. Proof: Let L be recognized by the DFA and M by the DFA A L = (Q L,Σ, δ L, q L, F L ) A M = (Q M,Σ, δ M, q M, F M ) We assume that the alphabets of both automata are the same ; that is Σ is the union of the alphabets of L and M, if they are different. We also assume w.l.o.g. that both automata are deterministic. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 14/3

15 We shall construct an automaton A that simulates both A L and A M. The states of A are pairs of states, the first from A L and the second from A M. If A L goes from state p to state s on reading a, and A M goes from state q to state t on reading a, then A L M will go from state (p, q) to state (s, t) on reading a. The start state of A is the pair of start states of A L and A M. Since we want to accept iff both automata accept, we select as accepting states of A all pairs (p, q) such that p is an accepting state of A L and q is an accepting state or A M. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 15/3

16 Formally A L M = (Q L Q M,Σ, δ, (q L, q M ), F L F M ), where δ((p, q), a) = (δ L (p, a), δ M (q, a)) By induction on w it is possible to prove that ˆδ L M ((q L, q M ), w) = (ˆδ L (q L, w), ˆδ M (q M, w)) But A accepts w iff ˆδ L M ((q L, q M ), w) is a pair of accepting states. That is ˆδ L (q L, w) must be un F L and ˆδ M (q M, w) must be un F M. Thus w is accepted by A iff w is accepted by A L and by A M. Thus A accepts the intersection of L and M. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 16/3

17 Closure under Difference If L and M are regular languages, then so is L \ M. Proof: Observe that L \ M = L M. We already know that regular languages are closed under complement and intersection. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 17/3

18 Reversal The reversal of a string a 1 a 2... a n is the string written backwards a n a n 1... a 1. We use w R for the reversal of string w. The reversal of a language L, written L R, is the language consisting of the reversals of all its strings Example: L = {001, 10,111} L R = {100, 01,111} Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 18/3

19 Closure under reversal If L is a regular languages, then so is L R. Proof 1 Let L be recognized by an fsa A. Turn A into an fsa for L R, by: 1. Reversing all arcs. 2. Make the old start state the new sole accepting state. 3. Create a new start state p 0, with δ(p 0, ǫ) = F (the old accepting states). Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 19/3

20 Closure under reversal Proof 2 Assume L is defined by a regular expression E. We show that there is another regular expression E R such that L(E R ) = (L(E)) R that is, the language of E R is the reversal of the language of E. Basis: If E is ǫ, of a, then E R = E. Induction: There are three cases, depending on the form of E Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 20/3

21 Proof (continue) 1. E = F + G. Then E R = F R + G R. Justification: The reversal of the union of two languages is obtained by computing the reversal of the two languages and taking the union of these languages. 2. E = F.G. Then E R = G R.F R Note: We reverse the order of the two languages, as well as reversing the languages themselves. Justification: In general, if a word w L(E) is the concatenation of w 1 L(F) and w 2 L(G), then w R = w R 2.wR E = F. Then E R = (F R ) Justification: Any string w L(E) can be written as w 1 w 2... w n, where each w i is in L(F). But w R = w R n.....w R 2.wR 1 and each wr i is in L(E R ), so w R is in L((F R ) ). Conversly, any string in L((F R ) ) is of the form w 1 w 2... w n where each w i is the reversal of a string in L(F).The reversal of this string is in L(F ) which is in L(E). We have shown that a string is in L(E) iff its reversal is in L((F R ) ). Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 21/3

22 Homomorphisms A homomorphism on Σ is a function h : Σ Θ, where Σ and Θ are alphabets. Let w = a 1 a 2... a n Σ. Then h(w) = h(a 1 )h(a 2 )... h(a n ) and h(l) = {h(w) w L} Example: Let h : {0, 1} {a, b} be defined by h(0) = ab, and h(1) = ǫ. Now h(0011) = abab. h(l(10 1)) = L((ab) ) Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 22/3

23 If L is a regular language over alphabet Σ and h is a homomorphism on Σ, then h(l) is also regular. Proof Let L = L(R) for some RE R. We claim that h(r) defines the language h(l). In general, if E is the regular expression with symbols in Σ, let h(e) be the expression obtained by replacing each symbol a of Σ by h(a). The proof is a structural induction that says whenever we take a subexpression E of R and apply h to it to get h(e), the language h(e) is the same we get if we apply h to the language L(E). Formally L(h(E)) = h(l(e)). Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 23/3

24 Proof (cont.) Basis: If E is ǫ or, then h(e) = E and L(h(E)) = L(E) = h(l(e)). If E is a, then L(E) = {a} and L(h(E)) = L(h(a)) = {h(a)} = h(l(e)) Induction: There are three cases, depending on the form of E Case 1: E = F + G h(e) = h(f + G) = h(f) + h(g) We also know that L(E) = L(F) L(G) L(h(E)) = L(h(F + G)) = L(h(F) + h(g)) = L(h(F)) L(h(G)). by the definition of what + means in regular expressions. h(l(e)) = h(l(f) L(G)) = h(l(f)) h(l(g)) because h is applied to a language by application to each of its strings individually. By the induction hypothesis L(h(F)) = h(l(f)) and L(h(G)) = h(l(g)). Then L(h(F)) L(h(G)) = h(l(f)) h(l(g)) Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 24/3

25 Case 2: E = F.G h(e) = h(f.g) = h(f).h(g) We also know that L(E) = L(F).L(G) L(h(E)) = L(h(F.G)) = L(h(F).h(G)) = L(h(F)).L(h(G)). h(l(e)) = h(l(f).l(g)) = h(l(f)).h(l(g)). By the induction hypothesis L(h(F)) = h(l(f)) and L(h(G)) = h(l(g)). Then L(h(F)).L(h(G)) = h(l(f)).h(l(g)) Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 25/3

26 Case 3: E = F h(e) = h(f ) = h(f) L(h(E)) = L(h(F )) = L(h(F) ) = L(h(F)). h(l(e)) = h(l(f )) = h(l(f)). By the induction hypothesis L(h(F)) = h(l(f)). Then L(h(F)) = h(l(f)) Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 26/3

27 Inverse Homomorphism Let h : Σ Θ be a homomorphism. Let L Θ, and define h 1 (L) = {w Σ h(w) L} h 1 (L) (h inverse of L) is the set of strings w in Σ such that h(w) is in L. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 27/3

28 Example Let L = L((00 + 1) ). Let h : {a, b} {0,1} be defined by h(a) = 01 h(b) = 10 We claim that h 1 (L) is the language of regular expression (b.a), i.e., h 1 (L) = L((ba) ). We shall prove that h(w) L iff w = (ba) n. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 28/3

29 Proof (If) Suppose w = (ba) n for n 0. Note that h(ba) = 1001 so h(w) is n repetition of Thus h(w) = (1001) n L. (Only-If) We assume that h(w) is in L and show that w is of the form baba... ba. There are four conditions under which a string is NOT of the form, and we shall show that if any of them hold then h(w) is not in L. That is, we prove the contrapositive of the statement we set out to prove. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 29/3

30 Proof (cont.) So, let h(w) L and suppose w L((a.b) ). There are 4 cases to consider: 1. w begins with a. Then h(w) begins with 01 and L((00 + 1) ), since it has an isolated w ends in b. Then h(w) ends in 10 and L((00 + 1) ). 3. w has two consecutive a, i.e., w = xaay. Then h(w) = z0101v and L((00 + 1) ). 4. w has two consecutive b, i.e., w = xaay. Then h(w) = z1010v and L((00 + 1) ). Thus, whenever one of the above cases hole, h(w) is not in L. However, unless at least one of items (1) through (4) hold, then w is of the form baba... ba. To see why, assume none of (1) through (4) hold. Then (1) tells us w must begin with b and (2) tells us w must end with a. Statements (3) and (4) tell us that a and b must alternate in w. Thus the logical OR of (1) through (4) is equivalent to the statement w is not of the form baba... ba. We have proved that the OR of (1) through (4) is not in L. The statement is the contrapositive of the statement wanted. Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 30/3

31 Closure of inverse homomorphism If h is a homomorphism from alphabet Σ to alphabet Θ, and L is a regular language over alphabet Θ, then h 1 (L) is also a regular language. Proof: Let L be the language of the DFA A = (Q,Θ, δ, q 0, F) We construct from A and h a DFA for h 1 (L). This automaton uses the states of A but translates the input symbols according to h before deciding on the next state. Formally, B = (Q,Σ, γ, q 0, F) where transition function γ is constructed by the rule γ(q, a) = ˆδ(q, h(a)) That is the transition B makes on input a is the result of the sequence of transitions that A makes on string of symbols h(a). Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 31/3

32 By an induction on w it is possible to show that ˆγ(q 0, w) = ˆδ(q 0, h(w))). Since the accepting states of A and B are the same, B accepts w iff A accepts h(w). Put another way, B accepts exactly thoses strings w that are in h 1 (L). Automata Theory, Languages and Computation - Mírian Halfeld-Ferrari p. 32/3

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