domingo, 26 de febrero de 2012

derivations II

derivations and direct derivations. Part II (non-determinism)

In a previous post I introduced derivations in MGG. Today I want to give you my personal interpretation of what a direct derivation is. Also, there is one problem that needs to be addressed in order to move forward: Potential dangling edges. MGG takes care of them through so-called epsilon-productions (e-productions). I will address them in the next post.

One question that I find pretty natural is why applying a production to some host graph is so complicated. There are several steps involved. For example, in the categorical approaches (SPO/DPO) we use one pushout construction (or even "worse", two pushout constructions) to define what a direct derivation is. My personal view is that the pushout construction is a device to transform a production into a function. This is not the standard point of view, in which the grammar is/specifies the function.

However, I think that the underlying idea of a production should be that of a function, which is straightforward. Direct derivations as introduced so far in the literature are not (they are not straightforward and they are not functions). Recall that a production applies a single graph into another graph. I think it should rather be a receipt to transform graphs into graphs (production and grammar rule are synonymous; the term rule and receipt are not that far in my opinion).

Nonetheless, my main objection to the pushout construction is its inherent non-determinism. In a more functional style I would say that it defines a multivalued function (one that assigns several different outputs to a single input). This is a far-reaching subject. For example, if SPO was used as a model of computation, e.g. to study the PvsNP problem, we would not get too far. Unfortunately, I think we would not even start because the definition of the complexity class P could not be done. By the way, I am not aware of any attempt to use/study DPO or SPO as a model of computation, even though most of the research in this field is carried out by computer scientists. No doubt, this is an extremely interesting topic.

How can we avoid this non-determinism in the different approaches to graph transformation? In my personal opinion, I think we cannot or at least I do not see how (I mean an easy way). How can we avoid this non-determinism in MGG? Recall that in MGG we can split the dynamics of the production from its statics, so to speak. One possibility are the so-called swaps, which are introduced in this preliminar paper (the full version has been published in the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics).

The obvious drawback of swaps is precisely that we lose non-determinism. Actually, it can be recovered but we shall leave this to a post dedicated solely to swaps.

Today's quote (Johnson Samuel) I do not agree. In fact, I think this is probably the main problem in mathematics and this blog's very initial reason for being: Sir, I have found you an argument. I am not obliged to find you an understanding. It is also possible to illustrate one's opinion using counterexamples...

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