Title:

On restricting the ambiguity in morphic images of words

For alphabets Delta_1, Delta_2, a morphism g : Delta_1* to Delta_2* is ambiguous with respect to a word u in Delta_1* if there exists a second morphism h : Delta_1* to Delta_2* such that g(u) = h(u) and g not= h. Otherwise g is unambiguous. Hence unambiguous morphisms are those whose structure is fully preserved in their morphic images. A concept so far considered in the free monoid, the first part of this thesis considers natural extensions of ambiguity of morphisms to free groups. It is shown that, while the most straightforward generalization of ambiguity to a free monoid results in a trivial situation, that all morphisms are (always) ambiguous, there exist meaningful extensions of (un)ambiguity which are nontrivial  most notably the concepts of (un)ambiguity up to inner automorphism and up to automorphism. A characterization is given of words in a free group for which there exists an injective morphism which is unambiguous up to inner automorphism in terms of fixed points of morphisms, replicating an existing result for words in the free monoid. A conjecture is presented, which if correct, is sufficient to show an equivalent characterization for unambiguity up to automorphism. A rather counterintuitive statement is also established, that for some words, the only unambiguous (up to automorphism) morphisms are noninjective (or even periodic). The second part of the thesis addresses words for which all nonperiodic morphisms are unambiguous. In the free monoid, these take the form of periodicity forcing words. It is shown using morphisms that there exist ratioprimitive periodicity forcing words over arbitrary alphabets, and furthermore that it is possible to establish large and varied classes in this way. It is observed that the set of periodicity forcing words is spanned by chains of words, where each word is a morphic image of its predecessor. It is shown that the chains terminate in exactly one direction, meaning not all periodicity forcing words may be reached as the (nontrivial) morphic image of another. Such words are called prime periodicity forcing words, and some alternative methods for finding them are given. The freegroup equivalent to periodicity forcing words  a special class of Ctest words  is also considered, as well as the ambiguity of terminalpreserving morphisms with respect to words containing terminal symbols, or constants. Moreover, some applications to pattern languages and group pattern languages are discussed.
