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Let $w$ be a word in letters $x_1,...,x_n$. A value of $w$ is any word of the form $w(u_1,...,u_n)$ where $u_1,...,u_n$ are words. For example, $abaaba$ is a value of $x^2$. A word $u$ is called unavoidable if every infinite word in a finite alphabet contains a value of $u$ as a subword. There is a nice characterization of unavoidable words due to Zimin. A word $u$ in $n$ letters is unavoidable if and only if a value of $u$ is a subword of the $n$th Zimin word $Z_n$ defined by induction: $Z_1=x_1$,...,$Z_n=Z_{n-1}x_nZ_{n-1}$, that is $Z_1=x_1, Z_2=x_1x_2x_1, Z_3=x_1x_2x_1x_3x_1x_2x_1,...$. Zimin words appear very often in algebra. For example, if one lists binary expressions of all numbers $1,2,3,...$ and records the numbers of 0s at the end of the numbers plus 1, one will get $12131214121...$ which is the infinite Zimin word. Values of Zimin words also appeared as $m$-sequences in Levitzki's description of Baer radical (see Jacobson's book "Structure of rings") and in the work of Schutzenberger. The Zimin words have obvious fractal structure, so these words could have appeared in other areas of mathematics as well.

Question. Do Zimin words appear in your area of mathematics?

This might be a "big list" question. But I do not know how big the list is, it may be empty. If it turn out to be big, I will make the question "community wiki".

Update 1. Googling 121312141213121 ($=Z_4$) returns 439 results including a discussion at reddit.

Update 2. The most curious among these links is this link to a US patent. It looks like Zimin words up to $Z_5$ at least have been patented before Zimin introduced them.

Update 3. This is needed for the book with the current title "Words and their meaning" which we are writing together with Mikhail Volkov. There we already have four different applications of Zimin words to different areas of algebra and would like to mention applications outside algebra as well.

3 added 308 characters in body

Let $w$ be a word in letters $x_1,...,x_n$. A value of $w$ is any word of the form $w(u_1,...,u_n)$ where $u_1,...,u_n$ are words. For example, $abaaba$ is a value of $x^2$. A word $u$ is called unavoidable if every infinite word in a finite alphabet contains a value of $u$ as a subword. There is a nice characterization of unavoidable words due to Zimin. A word $u$ in $n$ letters is unavoidable if and only if a value of $u$ is a subword of the $n$th Zimin word $Z_n$ defined by induction: $Z_1=x_1$,...,$Z_n=Z_{n-1}x_nZ_{n-1}$, that is $Z_1=x_1, Z_2=x_1x_2x_1, Z_3=x_1x_2x_1x_3x_1x_2x_1,...$. Zimin words appear very often in algebra. For example, if one lists binary expressions of all numbers $1,2,3,...$ and records the numbers of 0s at the end of the numbers plus 1, one will get $12131214121...$ which is the infinite Zimin word. Values of Zimin words also appeared as $m$-sequences in Levitzki's description of Baer radical (see Jacobson's book "Structure of rings") and in the work of Schutzenberger. The Zimin words have obvious fractal structure, so these words could have appeared in other areas of mathematics as well.

Question. Do Zimin words appear in your area of mathematics?

This might be a "big list" question. But I do not know how big the list is, it may be empty. If it turn out to be big, I will make the question "community wiki".

Update Googling 121312141213121 ($=Z_4$) returns 439 results including a discussion at reddit.

Update This is needed for the book with the current title "Words and their meaning" which we are writing together with Mikhail Volkov. There we already have four different applications of Zimin words to different areas of algebra and would like to mention applications outside algebra as well.

2 added 108 characters in body

Let $w$ be a word in letters $x_1,...,x_n$. A value of $w$ is any word of the form $w(u_1,...,u_n)$ where $u_1,...,u_n$ are words. For example, $abaaba$ is a value of $x^2$. A word $u$ is called unavoidable if every infinite word in a finite alphabet contains a value of $u$ as a subword. There is a nice characterization of unavoidable words due to Zimin. A word $u$ in $n$ letters is unavoidable if and only if a value of $u$ is a subword of the $n$th Zimin word $Z_n$ defined by induction: $Z_1=x_1$,...,$Z_n=Z_{n-1}x_nZ_{n-1}$, that is $Z_1=x_1, Z_2=x_1x_2x_1, Z_3=x_1x_2x_1x_3x_1x_2x_1,...$. Zimin words appear very often in algebra. For example, if one lists binary expressions of all numbers $1,2,3,...$ and records the numbers of 0s at the end of the numbers plus 1, one will get $12131214121...$ which is the infinite Zimin word. Values of Zimin words also appeared as $m$-sequences in Levitzki's description of Baer radical (see Jacobson's book "Structure of rings") and in the work of Schutzenberger. The Zimin words have obvious fractal structure, so these words could have appeared in other areas of mathematics as well.

Question. Do Zimin words appear in your area of mathematics?

This might be a "big list" question. But I do not know how big the list is, it may be empty. If it turn out to be big, I will make the question "community wiki".

Update Googling 121312141213121 ($=Z_4$) returns 439 results including a discussion at reddit.

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