Tools and techniques for formalising structural proof theory
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Whilst results from Structural Proof Theory can be couched in many formalisms, it is the sequent calculus which is the most amenable of the formalisms to metamathematical treatment. Constructive syntactic proofs are filled with bureaucratic details; rarely are all cases of a proof completed in the literature. Two intermediate results can be used to drastically reduce the amount of effort needed in proofs of Cut admissibility: Weakening and Invertibility. Indeed, whereas there are proofs of Cut admissibility which do not use Invertibility, Weakening is almost always necessary. Use of these results simply shifts the bureaucracy, however; Weakening and Invertibility, whilst more easy to prove, are still not trivial. We give a framework under which sequent calculi can be codified and analysed, which then allows us to prove various results: for a calculus to admit Weakening and for a rule to be invertible in a calculus. For the latter, even though many calculi are investigated, the general condition is simple and easily verified. The results have been applied to G3ip, G3cp, G3s, G3-LC and G4ip. Invertibility is important in another respect; that of proof-search. Should all rules in a calculus be invertible, then terminating root-first proof search gives a decision procedure for formulae without the need for back-tracking. To this end, we present some results about the manipulation of rule sets. It is shown that the transformations do not affect the expressiveness of the calculus, yet may render more rules invertible. These results can guide the design of efficient calculi. When using interactive proof assistants, every case of a proof, however complex, must be addressed and proved before one can declare the result formalised. To do this in a human readable way adds a further layer of complexity; most proof assistants give output which is only legible to a skilled user of that proof assistant. We give human-readable formalisations of Cut admissibility for G3cp and G3ip, Contraction admissibility for G4ip and Craig's Interpolation Theorem for G3i using the Isar vernacular of Isabelle. We also formalise the new invertibility results, in part using the package for reasoning about first-order languages, Nominal Isabelle. Examples are given showing the effectiveness of the formalisation. The formal proof of invertibility using the new methods is drastically shorter than the traditional, direct method.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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