vector addition system
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract We consider the following (solitary) game: each node of a directed graph contains a pile of chips. A move consists of selecting a node with at least as many chips as its outdegree, and sending one chip along each outgoing edge to its neighbors. We extend to directed graphs several results on the undirected version obtained earlier by the authors, P. Shor, and G. Tardos, and we discuss some new topics such as periodicity, reachability, and probabilistic aspects. Among the new results specifically concerning digraphs, we relate the length of the shortest period of an infinite game to the length of the longest terminating game, and also to the access time of random walks on the same graph. These questions involve a study of the Laplace operator for directed graphs. We show that for many graphs, in particular for undirected graphs, the problem whether a given position of the chips can be reached from the initial position is polynomial time solvable. Finally, we show how the basic properties of the “probabilistic abacus” can be derived from our results.
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