Ehrenfeucht-Fraïssé games on omega-terms

Fragments of first-order logic over words can often be characterized in terms of finite monoids or finite semigroups. Usually these algebraic descriptions yield decidability of the question whether a given regular language is definable in a particular fragment. An effective algebraic characterization can be obtained from identities of so-called omega-terms. In order to show that a given fragment satisfies some identity of omega-terms, one can use Ehrenfeucht-Fraïssé games on word instances of the omega-terms. The resulting proofs often require a significant amount of bookkeeping with respect to the constants involved. In this paper we introduce Ehrenfeucht-Fraïssé games on omega-terms. To this end we assign a labeled linear order to every omega-term. Our main theorem shows that a given fragment satisfies some identity of omega-terms if and only if Duplicator has a winning strategy for the game on the resulting linear orders. This allows to avoid the book-keeping. As an application of our main result, we show that one can decide in exponential time whether all aperiodic monoids satisfy some given identity of omega-terms, thereby improving a result of McCammond (Int. J. Algebra Comput., 2001).


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