Collapsible Pushdown Automata and Recursion Schemes
Logic in Computer Science
Collapsible pushdown automata (CPDA) are a new kind of higher-order pushdown automata in which every symbol in the stack has a link to a stack situated somewhere below it. In addition to the higher-order stack operations push i and pop i , CPDA have an important operation called collapse, whose effect is to "collapse" a stack s to the prefix as indicated by the link from the topmost symbol of s. Our first result is that CPDA are equi-expressive with recursion schemes as generators of (possibly
... nfinite) ranked trees. In one direction, we give a simple algorithm that transforms an order-n CPDA to an order-n recursion scheme that generates the same tree, uniformly for all n ≥ 0. In the other direction, using ideas from game semantics, we give an effective transformation of order-n recursion schemes (not assumed to be homogeneously typed, and hence not necessarily safe) to order-n CPDA that compute traversals over an abstract syntax graph of the scheme, and hence paths in the tree generated by the scheme. Our equi-expressivity result is the first automata-theoretic characterization of higherorder recursion schemes. Thus CPDA are also a characterization of the simply-typed lambda calculus with recursion (generated from uninterpreted 1st-order symbols) and of (pure) innocent strategies. An important consequence of the equi-expressivity result is that it allows us to reduce decision problems on trees generated by recursion schemes to equivalent problems on CPDA and vice versa. Thus we show, as a consequence of a recent result by Ong (modal mu-calculus model-checking of trees generated by recursion schemes is n-EXPTIME complete), that the problem of solving parity games over the configuration graphs of order-n CPDA is n-EXPTIME complete, subsuming several well-known results about the solvability of games over higher-order pushdown graphs by (respectively) Walukiewicz, Cachat, and Knapik et al. An- * We direct readers to the (downloadable) long version  of this paper in which all proofs are presented. other contribution of our work is a self-contained proof of the same solvability result by generalizing standard techniques in the field. By appealing to our equi-expressivity result, we obtain a new proof of Ong's result. In contrast to higher-order pushdown graphs, we show that the monadic second-order theories of the configuration graphs of CPDA are undecidable. It follows that -as generators of graphs -CPDA are strictly more expressive than higher-order pushdown automata.