Inside the Binary Reflected Gray Code: Flip-Swap Languages in 2-Gray Code Order

05/08/2021 ∙ by Joe Sawada, et al. ∙ 0

A flip-swap language is a set S of binary strings of length n such that S ∪ 0^n is closed under two operations (when applicable): (1) Flip the leftmost 1; and (2) Swap the leftmost 1 with the bit to its right. Flip-swap languages model many combinatorial objects including necklaces, Lyndon words, prefix normal words, left factors of k-ary Dyck words, and feasible solutions to 0-1 knapsack problems. We prove that any flip-swap language forms a cyclic 2-Gray code when listed in binary reflected Gray code (BRGC) order. Furthermore, a generic successor rule computes the next string when provided with a membership tester. The rule generates each string in the aforementioned flip-swap languages in O(n)-amortized per string, except for prefix normal words of length n which require O(n^1.864)-amortized per string. Our work generalizes results on necklaces and Lyndon words by Vajnovski [Inf. Process. Lett. 106(3):96-99, 2008].

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