Automated proof search in non-classical logics : efficient matrix proof methods for modal and intuitionistic logics
In this thesis we develop efficient methods for automated proof search within an important class of mathematical logics. The logics considered are the varying, cumulative and constant domain versions of the first-order modal logics K, K4, D, D4, T, S4 and S5, and first-order intuitionistic logic. The use of these non-classical logics is commonplace within Computing Science and Artificial Intelligence in applications in which efficient machine assisted proof search is essential. Traditional techniques for the design of efficient proof methods for classical logic prove to be of limited use in this context due to their dependence on properties of classical logic not shared by most of the logics under consideration. One major contribution of this thesis is to reformulate and abstract some of these classical techniques to facilitate their application to a wider class of mathematical logics. We begin with Bibel's Connection Calculus: a matrix proof method for classical logic comparable in efficiency with most machine orientated proof methods for that logic. We reformulate this method to support its decomposition into a collection of individual techniques for improving the efficiency of proof search within a standard cut-free sequent calculus for classical logic. Each technique is presented as a means of alleviating a particular form of redundancy manifest within sequent-based proof search. One important result that arises from this anaylsis is an appreciation of the role of unification as a tool for removing certain proof-theoretic complexities of specific sequent rules; in the case of classical logic: the interaction of the quantifier rules. All of the non-classical logics under consideration admit complete sequent calculi. We anaylse the search spaces induced by these sequent proof systems and apply the techniques identified previously to remove specific redundancies found therein. Significantly, our proof-theoretic analysis of the role of unification renders it useful even within the propositional fragments of modal and intuitionistic logic.