Learning cover context-free grammars from structural data

Mircea Marin, Gabriel Istrate

We consider the problem of learning an unknown context-free grammar when the only knowledge available and of interest to the learner is about its structural descriptions with depth at most $\ell.$ The goal is to learn a cover context-free grammar (CCFG) with respect to $\ell$, that is, a CFG whose structural descriptions with depth at most $\ell$ agree with those of the unknown CFG. We propose an algorithm, called $LA^\ell$, that efficiently learns a CCFG using two types of queries: structural equivalence and structural membership. We show that $LA^\ell$ runs in time polynomial in the number of states of a minimal deterministic finite cover tree automaton (DCTA) with respect to $\ell$. This number is often much smaller than the number of states of a minimum deterministic finite tree automaton for the structural descriptions of the unknown grammar.

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