# On the k-Abelian Equivalence Relation of Finite Words

##### Whiteland, Markus A. (2019-06-28)

Whiteland, Markus A.

Turku Centre for Computer Science

28.06.2019

**Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on:**

http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-12-3837-6

##### Tiivistelmä

This thesis is devoted to the so-called k-abelian equivalence relation of sequences of symbols, that is, words. This equivalence relation is a generalization of the abelian equivalence of words. Two words are abelian equivalent if one is a permutation of the other. For any positive integer k, two words are called k-abelian equivalent if each word of length at most k occurs equally many times as a factor in the two words. The k-abelian equivalence defines an equivalence relation, even a congruence, of finite words. A hierarchy of equivalence classes in between the equality relation and the abelian equivalence of words is thus obtained.

Most of the literature on the k-abelian equivalence deals with infinite words. In this thesis we consider several aspects of the equivalence relations, the main objective being to build a fairly comprehensive picture on the structure of the k-abelian equivalence classes themselves. The main part of the thesis deals with the structural aspects of k-abelian equivalence classes. We also consider aspects of k-abelian equivalence in infinite words.

We survey known characterizations of the k-abelian equivalence of finite words from the literature and also introduce novel characterizations. For the analysis of structural properties of the equivalence relation, the main tool is the characterization by the rewriting rule called the k-switching. Using this rule it is straightforward to show that the language comprised of the lexicographically least elements of the k-abelian equivalence classes is regular. Further word-combinatorial analysis of the lexicographically least elements leads us to describe the deterministic finite automata recognizing this language. Using tools from formal language theory combined with our analysis, we give an optimal expression for the asymptotic growth rate of the number of k-abelian equivalence classes of length n over an m-letter alphabet. Explicit formulae are computed for small values of k and m, and these sequences appear in Sloane’s Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.

Due to the fact that the k-abelian equivalence relation is a congruence of the free monoid, we study equations over the k-abelian equivalence classes. The main result in this setting is that any system of equations of k-abelian equivalence classes is equivalent to one of its finite subsystems, i.e., the monoid defined by the k-abelian equivalence relation possesses the compactness property.

Concerning infinite words, we mainly consider the (k-)abelian complexity function. We complete a classification of the asymptotic abelian complexities of pure morphic binary words. In other words, given a morphism which has an infinite binary fixed point, the limit superior asymptotic abelian complexity of the fixed point can be computed (in principle). We also give a new proof of the fact that the k-abelian complexity of a Sturmian word is n + 1 for length n < 2k, and 2k for n > 2k. In fact, we consider several aspects of the k-abelian equivalence relation in Sturmian words using a dynamical interpretation of these words. We reprove the fact that any Sturmian word contains arbitrarily large k-abelian repetitions. The methods used allow to analyze the situation in more detail, and this leads us to define the so-called k-abelian critical exponent which measures the ratio of the exponent and the length of the root of a k-abelian repetition. This notion is connected to a deep number theoretic object called the Lagrange spectrum.

Most of the literature on the k-abelian equivalence deals with infinite words. In this thesis we consider several aspects of the equivalence relations, the main objective being to build a fairly comprehensive picture on the structure of the k-abelian equivalence classes themselves. The main part of the thesis deals with the structural aspects of k-abelian equivalence classes. We also consider aspects of k-abelian equivalence in infinite words.

We survey known characterizations of the k-abelian equivalence of finite words from the literature and also introduce novel characterizations. For the analysis of structural properties of the equivalence relation, the main tool is the characterization by the rewriting rule called the k-switching. Using this rule it is straightforward to show that the language comprised of the lexicographically least elements of the k-abelian equivalence classes is regular. Further word-combinatorial analysis of the lexicographically least elements leads us to describe the deterministic finite automata recognizing this language. Using tools from formal language theory combined with our analysis, we give an optimal expression for the asymptotic growth rate of the number of k-abelian equivalence classes of length n over an m-letter alphabet. Explicit formulae are computed for small values of k and m, and these sequences appear in Sloane’s Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.

Due to the fact that the k-abelian equivalence relation is a congruence of the free monoid, we study equations over the k-abelian equivalence classes. The main result in this setting is that any system of equations of k-abelian equivalence classes is equivalent to one of its finite subsystems, i.e., the monoid defined by the k-abelian equivalence relation possesses the compactness property.

Concerning infinite words, we mainly consider the (k-)abelian complexity function. We complete a classification of the asymptotic abelian complexities of pure morphic binary words. In other words, given a morphism which has an infinite binary fixed point, the limit superior asymptotic abelian complexity of the fixed point can be computed (in principle). We also give a new proof of the fact that the k-abelian complexity of a Sturmian word is n + 1 for length n < 2k, and 2k for n > 2k. In fact, we consider several aspects of the k-abelian equivalence relation in Sturmian words using a dynamical interpretation of these words. We reprove the fact that any Sturmian word contains arbitrarily large k-abelian repetitions. The methods used allow to analyze the situation in more detail, and this leads us to define the so-called k-abelian critical exponent which measures the ratio of the exponent and the length of the root of a k-abelian repetition. This notion is connected to a deep number theoretic object called the Lagrange spectrum.

##### Kokoelmat

- Väitöskirjat [2096]