Abelian Square-Free Partial Words

Erdös raised the question whether there exist infinite abelian square-free words over a given alphabet, that is, words in which no two adjacent subwords are permutations of each other. It can easily be checked that no such word exists over a three-letter alphabet. However, infinite abelian square-free words have been constructed over alphabets of sizes as small as four. In this paper, we investigate the problem of avoiding abelian squares in partial words, or sequences that may contain some holes. In particular, we give lower and upper bounds for the number of letters needed to construct infinite abelian square-free partial words with finitely or infinitely many holes. Several of our constructions are based on iterating morphisms.

Keywords: Combinatorics on words; partial words; abelian squares; morphisms.

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