# Rational series

In mathematics and computer science, a **rational series** is a generalisation of the concept of formal power series over a ring to the case when the basic algebraic structure is no longer a ring but a semiring, and the indeterminates adjoined are not assumed to commute. They can be regarded as algebraic expressions of a formal language over a finite alphabet.

## Definition

Let *R* be a semiring and *A* a finite alphabet.

A *noncommutative polynomial* over *A* is a finite formal sum of words over *A*. They form a semiring .

A *formal series* is a *R*-valued function *c*, on the free monoid *A*^{*}, which may be written as

The set of formal series is denoted and becomes a semiring under the operations

A non-commutative polynomial thus corresponds to a function *c* on *A*^{*} of finite support.

In the case when *R* is a ring, then this is the *Magnus ring* over *R*.[1]

If *L* is a language over *A*, regarded as a subset of *A*^{*} we can form the *characteristic series* of *L* as the formal series

corresponding to the characteristic function of *L*.

In one can define an operation of iteration expressed as

and formalised as

The *rational operations* are the addition and multiplication of formal series, together with iteration.
A **rational series** is a formal series obtained by rational operations from .

## See also

- Formal power series
- Rational language
- Rational set
- Hahn series (Malcev–Neumann series)
- Weighted automaton

## References

- Koch, Helmut (1997).
*Algebraic Number Theory*. Encycl. Math. Sci.**62**(2nd printing of 1st ed.). Springer-Verlag. p. 167. ISBN 3-540-63003-1. Zbl 0819.11044.

- Berstel, Jean; Reutenauer, Christophe (2011).
*Noncommutative rational series with applications*. Encyclopedia of Mathematics and Its Applications.**137**. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-19022-0. Zbl 1250.68007.

## Further reading

- Sakarovitch, Jacques (2009).
*Elements of automata theory*. Translated from the French by Reuben Thomas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Part IV (where they are called -rational series). ISBN 978-0-521-84425-3. Zbl 1188.68177. - Droste, M., & Kuich, W. (2009). Semirings and Formal Power Series.
*Handbook of Weighted Automata*, 3–28. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-01492-5_1 - Sakarovitch, J. Rational and Recognisable Power Series.
*Handbook of Weighted Automata*, 105–174 (2009). doi:10.1007/978-3-642-01492-5_4 - W. Kuich. Semirings and formal power series: Their relevance to formal languages and automata theory. In G. Rozenberg and A. Salomaa, editors, Handbook of Formal Languages, volume 1, Chapter 9, pages 609–677. Springer, Berlin, 1997