Proofs in propositional logic are typically presented as trees of derived formulas or, alternatively, as directed acyclic graphs of derived formulas. This distinction between tree-like vs. dag-like structure is particularly relevant when making quantitative considerations regarding, for example, proof size. Here we analyze a more general type of structural restriction for proofs in rule-based proof systems. In this definition, proofs are directed graphs of derived formulas in which cycles are allowed as long as every formula is derived at least as many times as it is required as a premise. We call such proofs “circular”. We show that, for all sets of standard inference rules with single or multiple conclusions, circular proofs are sound. We start the study of the proof complexity of circular proofs at Circular Resolution, the circular version of Resolution. We immediately see that Circular Resolution is stronger than Dag-like Resolution since, as we show, the propositional encoding of the pigeonhole principle has circular Resolution proofs of polynomial size. Furthermore, for derivations of clauses from clauses, we show that Circular Resolution is, surprisingly, equivalent to Sherali-Adams, a proof system for reasoning through polynomial inequalities that has linear programming at its base. As corollaries we get: 1) polynomial-time (LP-based) algorithms that find Circular Resolution proofs of constant width, 2) examples that separate Circular from Dag-like Resolution, such as the pigeonhole principle and its variants, and 3) exponentially hard cases for Circular Resolution. Contrary to the case of Circular Resolution, for Frege we show that circular proofs can be converted into tree-like proofs with at most polynomial overhead.

Circular (Yet Sound) Proofs in Propositional Logic / Atserias, Albert; Lauria, Massimo. - In: ACM TRANSACTIONS ON COMPUTATIONAL LOGIC. - ISSN 1529-3785. - (2023), pp. 1-24. [10.1145/3579997]

### Circular (Yet Sound) Proofs in Propositional Logic

#### Abstract

Proofs in propositional logic are typically presented as trees of derived formulas or, alternatively, as directed acyclic graphs of derived formulas. This distinction between tree-like vs. dag-like structure is particularly relevant when making quantitative considerations regarding, for example, proof size. Here we analyze a more general type of structural restriction for proofs in rule-based proof systems. In this definition, proofs are directed graphs of derived formulas in which cycles are allowed as long as every formula is derived at least as many times as it is required as a premise. We call such proofs “circular”. We show that, for all sets of standard inference rules with single or multiple conclusions, circular proofs are sound. We start the study of the proof complexity of circular proofs at Circular Resolution, the circular version of Resolution. We immediately see that Circular Resolution is stronger than Dag-like Resolution since, as we show, the propositional encoding of the pigeonhole principle has circular Resolution proofs of polynomial size. Furthermore, for derivations of clauses from clauses, we show that Circular Resolution is, surprisingly, equivalent to Sherali-Adams, a proof system for reasoning through polynomial inequalities that has linear programming at its base. As corollaries we get: 1) polynomial-time (LP-based) algorithms that find Circular Resolution proofs of constant width, 2) examples that separate Circular from Dag-like Resolution, such as the pigeonhole principle and its variants, and 3) exponentially hard cases for Circular Resolution. Contrary to the case of Circular Resolution, for Frege we show that circular proofs can be converted into tree-like proofs with at most polynomial overhead.
##### Scheda breve Scheda completa
2023
Frege; proof complexity; resolution
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
Circular (Yet Sound) Proofs in Propositional Logic / Atserias, Albert; Lauria, Massimo. - In: ACM TRANSACTIONS ON COMPUTATIONAL LOGIC. - ISSN 1529-3785. - (2023), pp. 1-24. [10.1145/3579997]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: `https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1675423`