Institute of Mathematics


Modul:   MAT075  Zurich Graduate Colloquium

What is... a formal language?

Talk by Davide Spriano

Date: 25.09.18  Time: 17.15 - 18.30  Room:

The theory of formal languages starts in the sixties with the work of Noam Chomsky. Chomsky conjectured that all human languages can be seen as particular instances of what were afterwards called "Chomsky grammars". Due to the rigorous nature of Chomsky grammars, several mathematicians took interest in his work and established fruitful analogies between the theory of formal languages and some aspects of group theory.

In this talk we will first provide a general introduction to formal languages and their relation to human language and to automata. Afterwards we will show that to every group it is possible to naturally associate a formal language. Finally, we will survey the equivalence between some properties of such a language and some algebraic property of the group.