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Next: 1.4 Simulation. Up: 1 Models of Computations; Previous: 1.2 Rigid Models.

1.3 Pointer Machines.

The memory configuration of a Pointer Machine (PM), called pointer graph, is a finite directed labeled multigraph. One node R is marked as root and has directed paths to all nodes. Nodes see the configuration of their out-neighborhood of constant (2 suffices) depth and change it acting as automata. Edges (pointers ) are labeled with colors from a finite alphabet common to all graphs handled by a given program. The pointers coming out of a node must have different colors (which bounds the outdegree). Some colors are designated as working and not used in inputs/outputs. One of them (as well as pointers carrying it and nodes seeing them) is called active. Active pointers must have inverses, must form a tree to the root, and can be dropped only in leaves.

All active nodes each step execute an identical program. At its first pulling stage, node A acquires copies of all pointers of its children using ``composite'' colors: e.g., for a two-pointer path (A,B,C) colored x,y, the new pointer (A,C) is colored xy, or an existing z-colored pointer (A,C) is recolored {z,xy}. A also spawns new nodes with pointers to and from A. Next, A transforms the colors of its set of pointers, drops the pointers left with composite colors, and vanishes if no pointers are left. Nodes with no path from the root are forever invisible and effectively removed. The computation is initiated by inserting an active loop-edge into the root. When no active pointers remain, the graph, with all working colors dropped, is the output.

Problem: Design a PM transforming the input graph into the same one with two extra pointers from each node: to its parent in a BFS spanning tree and to the root. Hint: Nodes with no path to the root can never be activated. They should be copied with pointers, copies connected to the root, then the original input removed.

Pointer Machines can be either Parallel, PPM [Barzdin' Kalnin's 74] or Sequential. The latter differ by allowing to be active only pointers to the root and nodes seeing them through pointers with inverses.

A Kolmogorov or Kolmogorov-Uspenskii Machine (KM) [Kolmogorov Uspenskii 58], is a special case of Pointer Machine [Schoenhage 80] with the restriction that all pointers have inverses. This implies the bounded in/out-degree of the graph which we further assume to be constant.

Fixed Connection Machine (FCM) is a variant of the PKM with the restriction that pointers once created cannot be removed, only re-colored. So when the memory limits are reached, the structure of the machine cannot be altered and the computation can be continued only by changing the colors of the edges.

PPM is the most powerful model we consider: it can simulate the others in the same space/time. E.g., cellular automata make a simple special case of a PPM which restricts the Pointer Graph to be a grid.

Example Problem.

Design a machine of each model (TM, CA, KM, PPM) which determines if an input string x is a double (i.e. has a form ww, ). Analyze time (depth) and space. KM/PPM takes input x in the form of colors of edges in a chain of nodes, with root linked to both ends. The PPM nodes also have pointers to the root. Below are hints for TM,PM,CA. The space is in all three cases.

Turing and Pointer Machines. TM uses extra symbols A,B. First find the middle of ww by capitalizing the letters at both ends one by one. Then compare letter by letter the two halves, lowering the case of the compared letters. The complexity is: . PM algorithm is similar to the TM's, except that the root keeps and updates the pointers to the borders between the upper and lower case substrings. This allows commuting between these substrings in constant time. So, the complexity is: .

Cellular Automata. The computation begins from the leftmost cell sending right two signals. Reaching the end the first signal turns back. The second signal propagates three times slower than the first. They meet in the middle of ww and disappear. While alive, the second signal copies the input field i of each cell into a special field a. The a symbols will try to move right whenever the next cell's a field is blank. So the chain of these symbols alternating with blanks will start moving right from the middle of ww. When they reach the end they will push the blanks out and pack themselves back into a copy of the left half of ww shifted right. When an a symbol does not have a blank at the right to move to, it compares itself with the i field of the same cell. They should be identical, if the ww form is correct. Otherwise a signal is generated which halts all activity and rejects x. If all comparisons are successful, the last symbol generates the accepting signal. The complexity is: .

next up previous contents
Next: 1.4 Simulation. Up: 1 Models of Computations; Previous: 1.2 Rigid Models.

Leonid Levin
Wed Aug 21 20:35:42 EDT 1996