Propositional Resolution and Prime Implicates Generation

Nicolas Peltier 🌐

March 11, 2016

This is a development version of this entry. It might change over time and is not stable. Please refer to release versions for citations.


We provide formal proofs in Isabelle-HOL (using mostly structured Isar proofs) of the soundness and completeness of the Resolution rule in propositional logic. The completeness proofs take into account the usual redundancy elimination rules (tautology elimination and subsumption), and several refinements of the Resolution rule are considered: ordered resolution (with selection functions), positive and negative resolution, semantic resolution and unit resolution (the latter refinement is complete only for clause sets that are Horn- renamable). We also define a concrete procedure for computing saturated sets and establish its soundness and completeness. The clause sets are not assumed to be finite, so that the results can be applied to formulas obtained by grounding sets of first-order clauses (however, a total ordering among atoms is assumed to be given). Next, we show that the unrestricted Resolution rule is deductive- complete, in the sense that it is able to generate all (prime) implicates of any set of propositional clauses (i.e., all entailment- minimal, non-valid, clausal consequences of the considered set). The generation of prime implicates is an important problem, with many applications in artificial intelligence and verification (for abductive reasoning, knowledge compilation, diagnosis, debugging etc.). We also show that implicates can be computed in an incremental way, by fixing an ordering among all the atoms in the considered sets and resolving upon these atoms one by one in the considered order (with no backtracking). This feature is critical for the efficient computation of prime implicates. Building on these results, we provide a procedure for computing such implicates and establish its soundness and completeness.


BSD License


Session PropResPI