Closure properties and descriptional complexity of deterministic regular expressions ☆

Research paper by Katja Losemann, Wim Martens, Matthias Niewerth

Indexed on: 20 Mar '16Published on: 26 Feb '16Published in: Theoretical Computer Science


We study the descriptional complexity of regular languages that are definable by deterministic regular expressions, i.e., we examine worst-case blow-ups in size when translating between different representations for such languages. As representations of languages, we consider regular expressions, deterministic regular expressions, and deterministic finite automata. Our results show that exponential blow-ups between these representations cannot be avoided. Furthermore, we study the descriptional complexity of these representations when applying boolean operations. Here, we start by investigating the closure properties of such languages under various language-theoretic operations such as union, intersection, concatenation, Kleene star, and reversal. Our results show that languages that are definable by deterministic regular expressions are not closed under any of these operations. Finally, we show that for all these operations except the Kleene star an exponential blow-up in the size of deterministic regular expressions cannot be avoided.

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