Erich Grädel ; Martin Grohe ; Benedikt Pago ; Wied Pakusa - A Finite-Model-Theoretic View on Propositional Proof Complexity

lmcs:4320 - Logical Methods in Computer Science, June 14, 2022, Volume 15, Issue 1 -
A Finite-Model-Theoretic View on Propositional Proof Complexity

Authors: Erich Grädel ; Martin Grohe ; Benedikt Pago ; Wied Pakusa

    We establish new, and surprisingly tight, connections between propositional proof complexity and finite model theory. Specifically, we show that the power of several propositional proof systems, such as Horn resolution, bounded-width resolution, and the monomial calculus of bounded degree, can be characterised in a precise sense by variants of fixed-point logics that are of fundamental importance in descriptive complexity theory. Our main results are that Horn resolution has the same expressive power as least fixed-point logic, that bounded-width resolution captures existential least fixed-point logic, and that the polynomial calculus with bounded degree over the rationals solves precisely the problems definable in fixed-point logic with counting. We also study the bounded-degree polynomial calculus. Over the rationals, it captures fixed-point logic with counting if we restrict the bit-complexity of the coefficients. For unrestricted coefficients, we can only say that the bounded-degree polynomial calculus is at most as powerful as bounded variable infinitary counting logic, but a precise logical characterisation of its power remains an open problem. These connections between logics and proof systems allow us to establish finite-model-theoretic tools for proving lower bounds for the polynomial calculus over the rationals and also over finite fields. This is a corrected version of the paper (arXiv:1802.09377) published originally on January 23, 2019.

    Volume: Volume 15, Issue 1
    Published on: June 14, 2022
    Accepted on: January 23, 2019
    Submitted on: February 27, 2018
    Keywords: Computer Science - Logic in Computer Science,F.4.1


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