Succinct Determinisation of Counting Automata via Sphere Construction
We propose an efficient algorithm for determinising counting automata (CAs), i.e., finite automata extended with bounded counters. The algorithm avoids unfolding counters into control states, unlike the naive approach, and thus produces much smaller deterministic automata. We also develop a simplified and faster version of the general algorithm for the sub-class of so-called monadic CAs (MCAs), i.e., CAs with counting loops on character classes, which are common in practice. Our main motivation is (besides applications in verification and decision procedures of logics) the application of deterministic (M)CAs in pattern matching regular expressions with counting, which are very common in e.g. network traffic processing and log analysis. We have evaluated our algorithm against practical benchmarks from these application domains and concluded that compared to the naive approach, our algorithm is much less prone to explode, produces automata that can be several orders of magnitude smaller, and is overall faster.
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