In this paper we investigate the use of preprocessing when solving Quantified Boolean Formulas (QBF). Many different problems can be efficiently encoded as QBF instances, and there has been a great deal of recent interest and progress in solving such instances efficiently. Ideas from QBF have also started to migrate to CSP with the exploration of Quantified CSPs which offer an intriguing increase in representational power over traditional CSPs. Here we show that QBF instances can be simplified using techniques related to those used for preprocessing SAT. These simplifications can be performed in polynomial time, and are used to preprocess the instance prior to invoking a worst case exponential algorithm to solve it. We develop a method for preprocessing QBF instances that is empirically very effective. That is, the preprocessed formulas can be solved significantly faster, even when we account for the time required to perform the preprocessing. Our method significantly improves the efficiency of a range of state-of-the-art QBF solvers. Furthermore, our method is able to completely solve some instances just by preprocessing, including some instances that to our knowledge have never been solved before by any QBF solver.
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