Complexity of reachability problems for finite discrete dynamical systems
Sequential Dynamical Systems (SDSs) are a special type of finite discrete dynamical systems that can be used to model simulation systems. We focus on the computational complexity of testing several phase space properties of SDSs. Our main result is a sharp delineation between classes of SDSs whose behavior is easy to predict and those whose behavior is hard to predict. Specifically, we show the following. Several state reachability problems for SDSs are PSPACE-complete, even when restricted to SDSs whose underlying graphs are of bounded bandwidth (and hence of bounded pathwidth and treewidth), and the function associated with each node is symmetric. Moreover, this result holds even when the underlying graph is d-regular for some constant d and all the nodes compute the same symmetric Boolean function. An immediate corollary of this result is a PSPACE-hard lower bound on the complexity of reachability problems for regular generalized 1D-Cellular Automata and undirected systolic networks with Boolean totalistic local transition functions. In contrast, the above reachability problems are solvable in polynomial time for SDSs when the Boolean function associated with each node is symmetric and monotone.