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Abelian Powers and Repetitions in Sturmian Words


Richomme, Saari and Zamboni (J. Lond. Math. Soc. 83: 79-95, 2011) proved that at every position of a Sturmian word starts an abelian power of exponent $k$ for every $k > 0$. We improve on this result by studying the maximum exponents of abelian powers and abelian repetitions (an abelian repetition is an analogue of a fractional power) in Sturmian words. We give a formula for computing the maximum exponent of an abelian power of abelian period $m$ starting at a given position in any Sturmian word of rotation angle $\alpha$. vAs an analogue of the critical exponent, we introduce the abelian critical exponent $A(s_\alpha)$ of a Sturmian word $s_\alpha$ of angle $\alpha$ as the quantity $A(s_\alpha) = limsup\ k_{m}/m=limsup\ k'_{m}/m$, where $k_{m}$ (resp. $k'_{m}$) denotes the maximum exponent of an abelian power (resp.~of an abelian repetition) of abelian period $m$ (the superior limits coincide for Sturmian words). We show that $A(s_\alpha)$ equals the Lagrange constant of the number $\alpha$. This yields a formula for computing $A(s_\alpha)$ in terms of the partial quotients of the continued fraction expansion of $\alpha$. Using this formula, we prove that $A(s_\alpha) \geq \sqrt{5}$ and that the equality holds for the Fibonacci word. We further prove that $A(s_\alpha)$ is finite if and only if $\alpha$ has bounded partial quotients, that is, if and only if $s_{\alpha}$ is $\beta$-power-free for some real number $\beta$. Concerning the infinite Fibonacci word, we prove that: i) The longest prefix that is an abelian repetition of period $F_j$, $j>1$, has length $F_j( F_{j+1}+F_{j-1} +1)-2$ if $j$ is even or $F_j( F_{j+1}+F_{j-1} )-2$ if $j$ is odd, where $F_{j}$ is the $j$th Fibonacci number; ii) The minimum abelian period of any factor is a Fibonacci number. Further, we derive a formula for the minimum abelian periods of the finite Fibonacci words

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hal-01956122 , version 1 (14-12-2018)



Gabriele Fici, Alessio Langiu, Thierry Lecroq, Arnaud Lefebvre, Filippo Mignosi, et al.. Abelian Powers and Repetitions in Sturmian Words. 2018. ⟨hal-01956122⟩
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