Subtree Matching by Pushdown Automata

Tomáš Flouri, Jan Janoušek, Bo\'r{}ivoj Melichar

Subtree matching is an important problem in Computer Science on which a number of tasks, such as mechanical theorem proving, term-rewriting, symbolic computation and nonprocedural programming languages are based on. A systematic approach to the construction of subtree pattern matchers by deterministic pushdown automata, which read subject trees in prefix and postfix notation, is presented. The method is analogous to the construction of string pattern matchers: for a given pattern, a nondeterministic pushdown automaton is created and is then determinised. In addition, it is shown that the size of the resulting deterministic pushdown automata directly corresponds to the size of the existing string pattern matchers based on finite automata.