Nondeterministic Automatic Complexity of Overlap-Free and Almost Square-Free Words

  • Kayleigh K. Hyde
  • Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen
Keywords: automatic complexity, nondeterministic finite automata, almost square-free words, strongly cube-free words, combinatorics on words


Shallit and Wang studied deterministic automatic complexity of words.  They showed that the automatic Hausdorff dimension $I(\mathbf t)$ of the infinite Thue word satisfies $1/3\le I(\mathbf t)\le 1/2$.   We improve that result by showing that $I(\mathbf t)= 1/2$.  We prove that the nondeterministic automatic complexity $A_N(x)$ of a word $x$ of length $n$ is bounded by $b(n):=\lfloor n/2\rfloor + 1$.  This enables us to define the complexity deficiency $D(x)=b(n)-A_N(x)$.  If $x$ is square-free then $D(x)=0$. If $x$ is almost square-free in the sense of Fraenkel and Simpson, or if $x$ is a overlap-free binary word such as the infinite Thue--Morse word, then $D(x)\le 1$.  On the other hand, there is no constant upper bound on $D$ for overlap-free words over a ternary alphabet, nor for cube-free words over a binary alphabet.

The decision problem whether $D(x)\ge d$ for given $x$, $d$ belongs to $\mathrm{NP}\cap \mathrm{E}$.

Author Biographies

Kayleigh K. Hyde, Chapman University

PhD student

Computational and Data Sciences

Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen, University of Hawaii at Manoa


Department of Mathematics

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