Urn automata

Dana Angluin, James Aspnes, Zoë Diamadi, Michael J. Fischer, and René Peralta. Urn automata. Available as YALEU/DCS/TR-1280, November 2003.


Urn automata are a new class of automata consisting of an input tape, a finite-state controller, and an urn containing tokens with a finite set of colors, where the finite-state controller can sample and replace tokens in the urn but cannot control which tokens it receives. We consider the computational power of urn automata, showing that an urn automaton with O(f(n)) tokens can, with high probability, simulate a probabilistic Turing machine using O(log f(n)) space and vice versa, as well as giving several technical results showing that the computational power of urn automata is not affected by variations in parameters such as the size of the state space, the number of tokens sampled per step, and so forth. Motivated by problems in distributed computing, we consider a special class of urn automata called pairing automata that model systems of finite-state machines that interact through random pairwise encounters. We show that pairing automata recognize precisely the symmetric languages recognized by urn automata.


title="Urn automata",
author="Dana Angluin and James Aspnes and Zo{\"e} Diamadi and Michael J. Fischer and Ren\'e Peralta",
institution="Yale University Department of Computer Science",

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