Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
XML PDF e-pub
PDF e-Pub

Section: New Results

Automated and Interactive Theorem Proving

Participants : Pascal Fontaine, Marek Košta, Manuel Lamotte Schubert, Stephan Merz, Thomas Sturm, Hernán Pablo Vanzetto, Uwe Waldmann, Daniel Wand, Christoph Weidenbach.

Combination of Satisfiability Procedures

Joint work with Christophe Ringeissen from the CASSIS project-team at Inria Nancy Grand Est, and Paula Chocron, a student at the University of Buenos Aires.

A satisfiability problem is often expressed in a combination of theories, and a natural approach consists in solving the problem by combining the satisfiability procedures available for the component theories. This is the purpose of the combination method introduced by Nelson and Oppen. However, in its initial presentation, the Nelson-Oppen combination method requires the theories to be signature-disjoint and stably infinite (to ensure the existence of an infinite model). The design of a generic combination method for non-disjoint unions of theories is clearly a hard task but it is worth exploring simple non-disjoint combinations that appear frequently in verification. An example is the case of shared sets, where sets are represented by unary predicates. Another example is the case of bridging functions between data structures and a target theory (e.g., a fragment of arithmetic).

The notion of gentle theory has been introduced in the last few years as one solution to go beyond the restriction of stable infiniteness, in the case of disjoint theories. In [26] , [43] , we adapt the notion of gentle theory to the non-disjoint combination of theories sharing only unary predicates, constants, and equality. As in the disjoint case, combining two theories, one of them being gentle, requires some minor assumptions on the other one. We show that major classes of theories, i.e., Loewenheim and Bernays-Schoenfinkel-Ramsey, satisfy the appropriate notion of gentleness introduced for this particular non-disjoint combination framework.

We have also considered particular non-disjoint unions of theories connected via bridging functions [27] . We present a combination procedure which is proved correct for the theory of absolutely free data structures. We consider the problem of adapting the combination procedure to obtain a satisfiability procedure for the standard interpretations of the data structure. We present an enumeration procedure that allows us to revisit the case of lists with length.

Type Synthesis for Set-Theoretic Proof Obligations

TLA+ is a language for the formal specification of systems and algorithms whose first-order kernel is a variant of untyped Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory. Typical proof obligations that arise during the verification of TLA+ specifications mix reasoning about sets, functions, arithmetic, tuples, and records. One of the challenges in designing an efficient encoding of TLA+ proof obligations for the input languages of first-order automatic theorem provers or SMT solvers is to synthesize appropriate sorts for the terms appearing in a proof obligation, matching the type system of the target prover. We base this synthesis on the detection of “typing hypotheses” present in the proof obligations and then propagate this information throughout the entire formula. An initial type system [53] similar to the multi-sorted discipline underlying SMT-lib was not expressive enough for representing constraints such as domain conditions for function applications. We therefore developed a more expressive type system that includes dependent types, predicate types, and subtyping. Type synthesis in this system is no longer decidable but generates constraints that are submitted to SMT solvers during type reconstruction. When the constraints are valid, the translation of the formula becomes simpler, and checking it becomes correspondingly more efficient. When type construction does not succeed, the translator locally falls back to a sound, but inefficient “untyped” encoding where interpreted sorts such as integers are injected into the SMT sort representing TLA+ values. In practice, this approach is found to behave significantly better than the original type system, and it extends easily to ATP proof backends. The results have been published at NFM 2014 [29] , full details appear in Vanzetto's PhD thesis [11] .

Syntactic Abstractions in First-Order Modal Logics

Joint work with Damien Doligez, Jael Kriener, Leslie Lamport, and Tomer Libal within the TLA+ project at the MSR-Inria Joint Centre.

TLA+ proofs mix first-order and temporal logics, and few (semi-)automatic proof tools support such languages. Moreover, natural deduction and sequent calculi, which are standard underpinnings for reasoning in first-order logic, do not extend smoothly to modal or temporal logics, due to the presence of implicit parameters designating the current point of evaluation. We design a syntactic abstraction method for obtaining pure first-order, respectively propositional modal or temporal, formulas from proof obligations in first-order modal or temporal logic, and prove the soundness of this “coalescing” technique. The resulting formulas can be passed to existing automatic provers or decision procedures for first-order logic (possibly with theory support), respectively for propositional modal and temporal logic. The method is complete for proving safety properties of specifications. This work was presented at the workshop on Automated Reasoning in Quantified Non-Classical Logic organized as part of Vienna Summer of Logic [33] , and it has been implemented within TLAPS (section 5.2 ).

Satisfiability of Propositional Modal Logics via SMT Solving

Joint work with Carlos Areces from the National University of Córdoba, Argentina, and Clément Herouard, a student at ENS Rennes.

Modal logics extend classical propositional logic, and they are robustly decidable. Most existing decision procedures for modal logics are based on tableau constructions. Within our ongoing cooperation with members of the National University of Córdoba supported by the MEALS and MISMT projects (sections 8.3 and 8.4 ), we are investigating the design of decision procedures based on adding custom instantiation rules to standard SAT and SMT solvers. Our constructions build upon the well-known standard translation of modal logics to the guarded fragment of first-order logic. The idea is to let the solver maintain an abstraction of the quantified formulas, together with corresponding models. The abstraction is refined by lazily instantiating quantifiers, until either it is found to be unsatisfiable or no new instantiations need to be considered. We prove the soundness, completeness, and termination of the procedure for basic modal logic and several extensions. In particular, a smooth extension to hybrid logic makes use of the decision procedures for equality built into SMT solvers, yielding surprisingly simple correctness proofs. A presentation of this work has been accepted for publication in 2015.

First-Order Extensions to Support Higher-Order Reasoning

In contrast to higher-order logic, first-order logic provides automation and completeness. In order to increase the success rate of first-order proof procedures on translations of higher-order proof obligations, we developed two extensions to first-order logic:

While the former can be seen as “just some kind of complication” to standard first-order reasoning procedures, the latter is an extension beyond first-order logic. We have shown how to keep first-order completeness in the presence of inductive data types while making use of the declarations for inferences and reductions that cannot be justified at the first-order level. The result is a superposition calculus extended with induction that shows impressive performance on standard benchmark sets when compared to existing approaches.

Decidability of First-Order Recursive Clause Sets

Recursion is a necessary source for first-order undecidability of clause sets. If there are no cyclic, i.e., recursive definitions of predicates in such a clause set, (ordered) resolution terminates, showing decidability. In this work we present the first characterization of recursive clause sets enabling non-constant function symbols and depth increasing clauses but still preserving decidability. For this class called BDI (Bounded Depth Increase) we present a specialized superposition calculus. This work has been published in the Journal of Logic and Computation [18] .

Finite Quantification in Hierarchic Theorem Proving

Joint work with Peter Baumgartner and Joshua Bax from NICTA, Canberra, Australia.

Many applications of automated deduction require reasoning in first-order logic modulo background theories, in particular some form of integer arithmetic. A major unsolved research challenge is to design theorem provers that are “reasonably complete” even in the presence of free function symbols ranging into a background theory sort. For the case when all variables occurring below such function symbols are quantified over a finite subset of their domains, we have developed and implemented a non-naive decision procedure for extended theories on top of a black-box decision procedure for the EA-fragment of the background theory. In its core, it employs a model-guided instantiation strategy for obtaining pure background formulas that are equi-satisfiable with the original formula. Unlike traditional finite model finders, it avoids exhaustive instantiation and, hence, is expected to scale better with the size of the domains [25] .

Developing Learning Strategies for Virtual Substitution

Joint work with Konstantin Korovin from the University of Manchester, UK.

During the past twenty years there have been a number of successful applications of real quantifier elimination methods based on virtual substitution. On the other hand, recently there has been considerable progress in (linear and non-linear) real arithmetic SMT-solving triggered by the idea to adopt from Boolean SAT-solving conflict analysis and learning techniques. In this work we do the first steps towards combining these two lines of research.

We consider linear real arithmetic SMT-solving. Inspired by related work for the Fourier-Motzkin method, we develop learning strategies for linear virtual substitution. For the first time, we formalize a virtual substitution-based quantifier elimination method—with and without our learning strategies—as formal calculi in the style of abstract DPLL [55] . We prove soundness and completeness for these calculi. Some standard linear programming benchmarks computed with an experimental implementation of our calculi show that the novel learning techniques combined with linear virtual substitution give rise to considerable speedups. Our implementation is part of the Reduce package Redlog, which is open-source and freely available.

This work gave rise to a publication at the CASC 2014 international workshop [28] .

Efficient Cell Construction in Cylindrical Algebraic Decomposition

Joint work with Christopher W. Brown from the United States Naval Academy.

In their 2012 paper, de Moura and Jovanović [51] give a novel procedure for non-linear real SMT solving. The procedure uses DPLL-style techniques to search for a satisfying assignment. In case of a conflict, Cylindrical Algebraic Decomposition (CAD) is used to guide the search away from the conflicting state: On the basis of one conflicting point, the procedure learns to avoid in the future an entire CAD cell containing that point. The crucial part of this “model-based” approach is a function realizing this cell learning. Unfortunately, it is the main computational bottleneck of the whole procedure.

In 2014, we improved our cell learning procedure developed in 2013 by further theoretical investigation, which led to optimizations of the cell construction algorithm. This work gave rise to a publication in the Journal of Symbolic Computation [14] .

In this publication we present an algorithm for the cell construction problem. Given a point and a set of polynomials, the algorithm constructs a single cylindrical cell containing the point, such that the polynomials are sign-invariant in the constructed cell. To represent a single cylindrical cell, a novel data structure is introduced. The algorithm, which is based on McCallum's projection operator, works with this representation and proceeds incrementally: First a cell representing the whole real space is constructed, and then refinement with respect to a single input polynomial is done to ensure the sign-invariance of this polynomial in the refined cell. We prove that our algorithm is correct and efficient in the following sense: First, the set of polynomials computed by our algorithm is a subset of the set constructed by the “model-based” approach, and second, the cell constructed by our algorithm is bigger than the cell constructed by the “model-based” approach.