# The reflection complexity of sequences over finite alphabets

- Authors
- Publication Date
- Jun 01, 2024
- Source
- ORBi
- Keywords
- Language
- English
- License
- Green
- External links

## Abstract

In combinatorics on words, the well-studied factor complexity function $\rho_{\bf x}$ of a sequence ${\bf x}$ over a finite alphabet counts, for any nonnegative integer $n$, the number of distinct length-$n$ factors of ${\bf x}$. In this paper, we introduce the \emph{reflection complexity} function $r_{\bf x}$ to enumerate the factors occurring in a sequence ${\bf x}$, up to reversing the order of symbols in a word. We introduce and prove results on $r_{\bf x}$ regarding its growth properties and relationship with other complexity functions. We prove that if ${\bf x}$ is $k$-automatic, then $r_{\bf x}$ is computably $k$-regular, and we use the software {\tt Walnut} to evaluate the reflection complexity of automatic sequences, such as the Thue--Morse sequence. We prove a Morse--Hedlund-type result characterizing eventually periodic sequences in terms of their reflection complexity, and we deduce a characterization of Sturmian sequences. Furthermore, we investigate the reflection complexity of episturmian, $(s+1)$-dimensional billiard, and Rote sequences. There are still many unanswered questions about this measure.