This report presents the main ideas underlyingtheOmegaGamma mkrp-system, an environmentfor the development of mathematical proofs. The motivation for the development ofthis system comes from our extensive experience with traditional first-order theoremprovers and aims to overcome some of their shortcomings. After comparing the benefitsand drawbacks of existing systems, we propose a system architecture that combinesthe positive features of different types of theorem-proving systems, most notably theadvantages of human-oriented systems based on methods (our version of tactics) andthe deductive strength of traditional automated theorem provers.In OmegaGamma mkrp a user first states a problem to be solved in a typed and sorted higher-order language (called POST ) and then applies natural deduction inference rules inorder to prove it. He can also insert a mathematical fact from an integrated data-base into the current partial proof, he can apply a domain-specific problem-solvingmethod, or he can call an integrated automated theorem prover to solve a subprob-lem. The user can also pass the control to a planning component that supports andpartially automates his long-range planning of a proof. Toward the important goal ofuser-friendliness, machine-generated proofs are transformed in several steps into muchshorter, better-structured proofs that are finally translated into natural language.This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 314 (D2, D3)
This paper concerns a knowledge structure called method , within a compu-tational model for human oriented deduction. With human oriented theoremproving cast as an interleaving process of planning and verification, the body ofall methods reflects the reasoning repertoire of a reasoning system. While weadopt the general structure of methods introduced by Alan Bundy, we make anessential advancement in that we strictly separate the declarative knowledgefrom the procedural knowledge. This is achieved by postulating some stand-ard types of knowledge we have identified, such as inference rules, assertions,and proof schemata, together with corresponding knowledge interpreters. Ourapproach in effect changes the way deductive knowledge is encoded: A newcompound declarative knowledge structure, the proof schema, takes the placeof complicated procedures for modeling specific proof strategies. This change ofparadigm not only leads to representations easier to understand, it also enablesus modeling the even more important activity of formulating meta-methods,that is, operators that adapt existing methods to suit novel situations. In thispaper, we first introduce briefly the general framework for describing methods.Then we turn to several types of knowledge with their interpreters. Finally,we briefly illustrate some meta-methods.
In this article we formally describe a declarative approach for encoding plan operatorsin proof planning, the so-called methods. The notion of method evolves from the much studiedconcept tactic and was first used by Bundy. While significant deductive power has been achievedwith the planning approach towards automated deduction, the procedural character of the tacticpart of methods, however, hinders mechanical modification. Although the strength of a proofplanning system largely depends on powerful general procedures which solve a large class ofproblems, mechanical or even automated modification of methods is nevertheless necessary forat least two reasons. Firstly methods designed for a specific type of problem will never begeneral enough. For instance, it is very difficult to encode a general method which solves allproblems a human mathematician might intuitively consider as a case of homomorphy. Secondlythe cognitive ability of adapting existing methods to suit novel situations is a fundamentalpart of human mathematical competence. We believe it is extremely valuable to accountcomputationally for this kind of reasoning.The main part of this article is devoted to a declarative language for encoding methods,composed of a tactic and a specification. The major feature of our approach is that the tacticpart of a method is split into a declarative and a procedural part in order to enable a tractableadaption of methods. The applicability of a method in a planning situation is formulatedin the specification, essentially consisting of an object level formula schema and a meta-levelformula of a declarative constraint language. After setting up our general framework, wemainly concentrate on this constraint language. Furthermore we illustrate how our methodscan be used in a Strips-like planning framework. Finally we briefly illustrate the mechanicalmodification of declaratively encoded methods by so-called meta-methods.
The reasoning power of human-oriented plan-based reasoning systems is primarilyderived from their domain-specific problem solving knowledge. Such knowledge is, how-ever, intrinsically incomplete. In order to model the human ability of adapting existingmethods to new situations we present in this work a declarative approach for represent-ing methods, which can be adapted by so-called meta-methods. Since apparently thesuccess of this approach relies on the existence of general and strong meta-methods,we describe several meta-methods of general interest in detail by presenting the prob-lem solving process of two familiar classes of mathematical problems. These examplesshould illustrate our philosophy of proof planning as well: besides planning with thecurrent repertoire of methods, the repertoire of methods evolves with experience inthat new ones are created by meta-methods which modify existing ones.
Most automated theorem provers suffer from the problem that theycan produce proofs only in formalisms difficult to understand even forexperienced mathematicians. Efforts have been made to transformsuch machine generated proofs into natural deduction (ND) proofs.Although the single steps are now easy to understand, the entire proofis usually at a low level of abstraction, containing too many tedioussteps. Therefore, it is not adequate as input to natural language gen-eration systems.To overcome these problems, we propose a new intermediate rep-resentation, called ND style proofs at the assertion level . After illus-trating the notion intuitively, we show that the assertion level stepscan be justified by domain-specific inference rules, and that these rulescan be represented compactly in a tree structure. Finally, we describea procedure which substantially shortens ND proofs by abstractingthem to the assertion level, and report our experience with furthertransformation into natural language.
Over the past thirty years there have been significant achievements in the field of auto-mated theorem proving with respect to the reasoning power of the inference engines.Although some effort has also been spent to facilitate more user friendliness of the de-duction systems, most of them failed to benefit from more recent developments in therelated fields of artificial intelligence (AI), such as natural language generation and usermodeling. In particular, no model is available which accounts both for human deductiveactivities and for human proof presentation. In this thesis, a reconstructive architecture issuggested which substantially abstracts, reorganizes and finally translates machine-foundproofs into natural language. Both the procedures and the intermediate representationsof our architecture find their basis in computational models for informal mathematicalreasoning and for proof presentation. User modeling is not incorporated into the currenttheory, although we plan to do so later.