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Alternating Automatic Register Machines

by   Ziyuan Gao, et al.
National University of Singapore

This paper introduces and studies a new model of computation called an Alternating Automatic Register Machine (AARM). An AARM possesses the basic features of a conventional register machine and an alternating Turing machine, but can carry out computations using bounded automatic relations in a single step. One surprising finding is that an AARM can recognise some NP-complete problems, including 3SAT (using a particular coding), in O(log^*n) steps. We do not yet know if every NP-complete problem can be recognised by some AARM in O(log^*n) steps. Furthermore, we study an even more computationally powerful machine, called a Polynomial-Size Padded Alternating Automatic Register Machine (PAARM), which allows the input to be padded with a polynomial-size string. It is shown that each language in the polynomial hierarchy can be recognised by a PAARM in O(log^*n) steps, while every language recognised by a PAARM in O(log^*(n)) steps belongs to PSPACE. These results illustrate the power of alternation when combined with computations involving automatic relations, and uncover a finer gradation between known complexity classes.


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