The Language (and Series) of Hammersley-Type Processes
We study languages and formal power series associated to (variants of) the Hammersley process. We show that the ordinary Hammersley process yields a regular language and the Hammersley tree process yields deterministic context-free (but non-regular) languages. For the Hammersley interval process we show that there are two relevant variants of formal languages. One of them leads to the same language as the ordinary Hammersley tree process. The other one yields non-context-free languages.
The results are motivated by the problem of studying the analog of the famous Ulam-Hammersley problem for heapable sequences. Towards this goal we also give an algorithm for computing formal power series associated to the Hammersley process. We employ this algorithm to settle the nature of the scaling constant, conjectured in previous work to be the golden ratio. Our results provide experimental support to this conjecture.
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