A Survey of State Merging Strategies for DFA Identification in the Limit

Cristina Tîrnăucă

Abstract

Identication of deterministic nite automata (DFAs) has an extensive history, both in passive learning and in active learning. Intractability results by Gold [5] and Angluin [1] show that nding the smallest automaton consistent with a set of accepted and rejected strings is NP-complete. Nevertheless, a lot of work has been done on learning DFAs from examples within specic heuristics, starting with Trakhtenbrot and Barzdin's algorithm [15], rediscovered and applied to the discipline of grammatical inference by Gold [5]. Many other algorithms have been developed, the convergence of most of which is based on characteristic sets: RPNI (Regular Positive and Negative Inference) by J. Oncina and P. García [11, 12], Traxbar by K. Lang [8], EDSM (Evidence Driven State Merging), Windowed EDSM and Blue- Fringe EDSM by K. Lang, B. Pearlmutter and R. Price [9], SAGE (Self-Adaptive Greedy Estimate) by H. Juillé [7], etc. This paper provides a comprehensive study of the most important state merging strategies developed so far.

Keywords

language; literature; computation

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