A Proposal for Broad Spectrum Proof Certificates
Recent developments in the theory of focused proof systems provide flexible means for structuring proofs within the sequent calculus. This structuring is organized around the construction of “macro” level inference rules based on the “micro” inference rules which introduce single logical connectives. After presenting focused proof systems for first-order classical logics (one with and one without fixed points and equality) we illustrate several examples of proof certificates formats that are derived naturally from the structure of such focused proof systems. In principle, a proof certificate contains two parts: the first part describes how macro rules are defined in terms of micro rules and the second part describes a particular proof object using the macro rules. The first part, which is based on the vocabulary of focused proof systems, describes a collection of macro rules that can be used to directly present the structure of proof evidence captured by a particular class of computational logic systems. While such proof certificates can capture a wide variety of proof structures, a proof checker can remain simple since it must only understand the micro-rules and the discipline of focusing. Since proofs and proof certificates are often likely to be large, there must be some flexibility in allowing proof certificates to elide subproofs: as a result, proof checkers will necessarily be required to perform (bounded) proof search in order to reconstruct missing subproofs. Thus, proof checkers will need to do unification and restricted backtracking search.
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