Equations on partial words
RAIRO - Theoretical Informatics and Applications - Informatique Théorique et Applications, Tome 43 (2009) no. 1, pp. 23-39.

It is well-known that some of the most basic properties of words, like the commutativity ($xy=yx$) and the conjugacy ($xz=zy$), can be expressed as solutions of word equations. An important problem is to decide whether or not a given equation on words has a solution. For instance, the equation ${x}^{m}{y}^{n}={z}^{p}$ has only periodic solutions in a free monoid, that is, if ${x}^{m}{y}^{n}={z}^{p}$ holds with integers $m,n,p\ge 2$, then there exists a word $w$ such that $x,y,z$ are powers of $w$. This result, which received a lot of attention, was first proved by Lyndon and Schützenberger for free groups. In this paper, we investigate equations on partial words. Partial words are sequences over a finite alphabet that may contain a number of “do not know” symbols. When we speak about equations on partial words, we replace the notion of equality ($=$) with compatibility ($↑$). Among other equations, we solve $xy↑yx$, $xz↑zy$, and special cases of ${x}^{m}{y}^{n}↑{z}^{p}$ for integers $m,n,p\ge 2$.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1051/ita:2007041
Classification : 68R15
Mots clés : equations on words, equations on partial words, commutativity, conjugacy, free monoid
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author = {Blanchet-Sadri, Francine and Blair, D. Dakota and Lewis, Rebeca V.},
title = {Equations on partial words},
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Blanchet-Sadri, Francine; Blair, D. Dakota; Lewis, Rebeca V. Equations on partial words. RAIRO - Theoretical Informatics and Applications - Informatique Théorique et Applications, Tome 43 (2009) no. 1, pp. 23-39. doi : 10.1051/ita:2007041. http://www.numdam.org/articles/10.1051/ita:2007041/

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