Journal of Logic, Language and Information

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 451-484

First online:

Automata for Epistemic Temporal Logic with Synchronous Communication

  • Swarup MohalikAffiliated withIndia Science Lab, General Motors Email author 
  • , R. RamanujamAffiliated withInstitute of Mathematical Sciences

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We suggest that developing automata theoretic foundations is relevant for knowledge theory, so that we study not only what is known by agents, but also the mechanisms by which such knowledge is arrived at. We define a class of epistemic automata, in which agents’ local states are annotated with abstract knowledge assertions about others. These are finite state agents who communicate synchronously with each other and information exchange is ‘perfect’. We show that the class of recognizable languages has good closure properties, leading to a Kleene-type theorem using what we call regular knowledge expressions. These automata model distributed causal knowledge in the following way: each agent in the system has a partial knowledge of the temporal evolution of the system, and every time agents synchronize, they update each other’s knowledge, resulting in a more up-to-date view of the system state. Hence we show that these automata can be used to solve the satisfiability problem for a natural epistemic temporal logic for local properties. Finally, we characterize the class of languages recognized by epistemic automata as the regular consistent languages studied in concurrency theory.


Epistemic logic Automata theory Decidability Knowledge expressions