Node selecting tree automata (NSTAs) constitute a general formalism defining unary queries over trees. Basically, a node is selected by an NSTA when it is visited in a selecting state during an accepting run. We consider twig patterns as an abstraction of XPath. Since the queries definable by NSTAs form a strict superset of twig-definable queries, we study the complexity of the problem to decide whether the query by a given NSTA is twig-definable. In particular, we obtain that the latter problem is EXPTIME-complete. In addition, we show that it is also EXPTIME-complete to decide whether the query by a given NSTA is definable by a node selecting string automaton.
The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00224-015-9623-7