Proof Complexity of Quantified Boolean Formulas

Olaf Beyersdorff

(Leeds University)

The main aim in proof complexity is to understand the complexity of theorem proving. Arguably, what is even more important is to establish techniques for lower bounds, and the recent history of computational complexity speaks volumes on how difficult it is to develop general lower bound techniques. Understanding the size of proofs is important for at least two reasons. The first is its tight relation to the separation of complexity classes: NP vs. coNP for propositional proofs, and NP vs. PSPACE in the case of proof systems for quantified boolean formulas (QBF). The second reason to study lower bounds for proofs is the analysis of SAT and QBF solvers: powerful algorithms that efficiently solve the classically hard problems of SAT and QBF for large classes of practically relevant formulas.

In this talk we give an overview of the relatively young field of QBF proof complexity. We explain the main resolution-based proof systems for QBF, modelling CDCL and expansion-based solving. In the main part of the talk we will give an overview of current lower bound techniques (and their limitations) for QBF systems. In particular, we exhibit a new and elegant proof technique for showing lower bounds in QBF proof systems based on strategy extraction. This technique provides a direct transfer of circuit lower bounds to lengths of proofs lower bounds.

Tuesday 12th April 2016, 15:00
Robert Recorde Room
Department of Computer Science