Rational semigroup automata

Render, Elaine
Kambites, Mark
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We show that for any monoid M, the family of languages accepted by M-automata (or equivalently, generated by regular valence grammars over M) is completely determined by that part of M which lies outside the maximal ideal. Hence, every such family arises as the family of languages accepted by N-automata where N is a simple or 0-simple monoid. A consequence is that every such family is either the class of regular languages, contains all the blind one-counter languages, or is the family of languages accepted by G-automata for G a non-locally-finite torsion group. We consider a natural extension of the usual definition which permits the automata to utilise more of the structure of each monoid, and also allows us to define S-automata for S an arbitrary semigroup. In the monoid case, the resulting automata are equivalent to the valence automata with rational target sets} which arise in the theory of regulated rewriting systems. We study the case that the register semigroup is completely simple or completely 0-simple, obtaining a complete characterisation of the classes of languages corresponding to such semigroups in terms of their maximal subgroups. In the process, we obtain a number of results about rational subsets of Rees matrix semigroups which may be of independent interest.
Comment: 17 pages
Mathematics - Rings and Algebras, 20M35, 68Q70