Relative Prefix Distance Between Languages
The prefix distance between two words x and y is defined as the number of symbols in x and y that do not belong to their longest common prefix. The relative prefix distance from a language \(L_1\) to a language \(L_2\), if finite, is the smallest integer k such that for every word in \(L_1\), there is a word in \(L_2\) with prefix distance at most k. We study the prefix distance between regular, visibly pushdown, deterministic context-free, and context-free languages. We show how to compute the distance between regular languages and determine whether the distance is bounded. For deterministic context-free languages and visibly pushdown languages, we show that the relative prefix distance to and from regular languages is decidable.
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