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An Evaluation Based Theorem Prover

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2 Author(s)
Degano, P. ; Dipartimento di Informatica, Universita degli Studi di Pisa, Corso Italia, 40.I-56100 Pisa, Italy. ; Sirovich, Franco

A noninductive method for mechanical theorem proving is presented, which deals with a recursive class of theorems involving iterative functions and predicates. The method is based on the symbolic evaluation of the formula to be proved and requires no inductive step. Induction is avoided since a metatheorem is proved which establishes the conditions on the evaluation of any formula which are sufficient to assure that the formula actually holds. The proof of a supposed theorem consists in evaluating the formula and checking the conditions. The method applies to assertions that involve element-by-element checking of typed homogeneous sequences which are hierarchically constructed out of the primitive type consisting of the truth values. The sequences can be computed by means of iterative and ``accumulator'' functions. The paper includes the definition of a simple typed iterative language in which both predicates and functions are expressed. The language precisely defines the scope of the proof method. The method proves a wide variety of theorems about iterative functions on sequences, including that which states that REVERSE is its own inverse, and that it can be inversely distributed on APPEND, that FLATTEN can be distributed on APPEND and that each element of any sequence is a MEMBER of the sequence itself. Although the method is not complete, it does provide the basis for an extremely efficient tool to be used in a complete mechanical theorem prover.

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Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:PAMI-7 ,  Issue: 1 )