On the Complexity of Deciding Behavioural Equivalences and Preorders - A Survey

Hans Hüttel
Sandeep Shukla

October 1996


This paper gives an overview of the computational complexity of all the equivalences in the linear/branching time hierarchy and the preorders in the corresponding hierarchy of preorders. We consider finite state or regular processes as well as infinite-state BPA processes.

A distinction, which turns out to be important in the finite-state processes, is that of simulation-like equivalences/preorders vs. trace-like equivalences and preorders. Here we survey various known complexity results for these relations. For regular processes, all simulation-like equivalences and preorders are decidable in polynomial time whereas all trace-like equivalences and preorders are PSPACE-Complete. We also consider interesting special classes of regular processes such as deterministic, determinate, unary, locally unary, and tree-like processes and survey the known complexity results in these special cases.

For infinite-state processes the results are quite different. For the class of context-free processes or BPA processes any preorder or equivalence beyond bisimulation is undecidable but bisimulation equivalence is polynomial time decidable for normed BPA processes and is known to be elementarily decidable in the general case. For the class of BPP processes, all preorders and equivalences apart from bisimilarity are undecidable. However, bisimilarity is decidable in this case and is known to be decidable in polynomial time for normed BPP processes.

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