On Extended Boundary Sequences of Morphic and Sturmian Words

  • Michel Rigo
  • Manon Stipulanti
  • Markus A. Whiteland


Generalizing the notion of the boundary sequence introduced by Chen and Wen, the $n$th term of the $\ell$-boundary sequence of an infinite word is the finite set of pairs $(u,v)$ of prefixes and suffixes of length $\ell$ appearing in factors $uyv$ of length $n+\ell$ ($n\ge \ell\ge 1$). Otherwise stated, for increasing values of $n$, one looks for all pairs of factors of length $\ell$ separated by $n-\ell$ symbols.

For the large class of addable abstract numeration systems $S$, we show that if an infinite word is $S$-automatic, then the same holds for its $\ell$-boundary sequence. In particular, they are both morphic (or generated by an HD0L system). To precise the limits of this result, we discuss examples of non-addable numeration systems and $S$-automatic words for which the boundary sequence is nevertheless $S$-automatic and conversely, $S$-automatic words with a boundary sequence that is not $S$-automatic. In the second part of the paper, we study the $\ell$-boundary sequence of a Sturmian word. We show that it is obtained through a sliding block code from the characteristic Sturmian word of the same slope.

We also show that it is the image under a morphism of some other characteristic Sturmian word.

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