A note on commutative Kleene algebra

technical report, 2019

In this paper we present a detailed proof of an important result of algebraic logic: namely that the free commutative Kleene algebra is the space of semilinear sets. The first proof of this result was proposed by Redko in 1964, and simplified and corrected by Pilling in his 1970 thesis. However, we feel that a new account of this proof is needed now. This result has acquired a particular importance in recent years, since it is a key component in the completeness proofs of several algebraic models of concurrent computations (bi-Kleene algebra, concurrent Kleene algebra…). To that effect, we present a new proof of this result.