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# The Frobenius Problem in a Free Monoid

## Date

2009-08-21T16:46:51Z

Xu, Zhi

## Publisher

University of Waterloo

## Abstract

Given positive integers c1,c2,...,ck with gcd(c1,c2,...,ck) = 1, the Frobenius problem (FP) is to compute the largest integer g(c1,c2,...,ck) that cannot be written as a non-negative integer linear combination of c1,c2,...,ck. The Frobenius problem in a free monoid (FPFM) is a non-commutative generalization of the Frobenius problem. Given words x1,x2,...,xk such that there are only finitely many words that cannot be written as concatenations of words in {x1,x2,...,xk}, the FPFM is to find the longest such words. Unlike the FP, where the upper bound g(c1,c2,...,ck)≤max 1≤i≤k ci2 is quadratic, the upper bound on the length of the longest words in the FPFM can be exponential in certain measures and some of the exponential upper bounds are tight. For the 2FPFM, where the given words over Σ are of only two distinct lengths m and n with 1<m<n, the length of the longest omitted words is ≤g(m, m|Σ|n-m + n - m). In Chapter 1, I give the definition of the FP in integers and summarize some of the interesting properties of the FP. In Chapter 2, I give the definition of the FPFM and discuss some general properties of the FPFM. Then I mainly focus on the 2FPFM. I discuss the 2FPFM from different points of view and present two equivalent problems, one of which is about combinatorics on words and the other is about the word graph. In Chapter 3, I discuss some variations on the FPFM and related problems, including input in other forms, bases with constant size, the case of infinite words, the case of concatenation with overlap, and the generalization of the local postage-stamp problem in a free monoid. In Chapter 4, I present the construction of some essential examples to complement the theory of the 2FPFM discussed in Chapter 2. The theory and examples of the 2FPFM are the main contribution of the thesis. In Chapter 5, I discuss the algorithms for and computational complexity of the FPFM and related problems. In the last chapter, I summarize the main results and list some open problems. Part of my work in the thesis has appeared in the papers.

## Keywords

Frobenius problem, free monoid, co-finite, Kleene-star, combinatorics on words, de Bruijn graph