Formalizing the Confluence of Orthogonal Rewriting Systems

Ana Cristina Rocha Oliveira
(Universidade de Brasilia)
Mauricio Ayala-Rincón
(Universidade de Brasilia)

Orthogonality is a discipline of programming that in a syntactic manner guarantees determinism of functional specifications. Essentially, orthogonality avoids, on the one side, the inherent ambiguity of non determinism, prohibiting the existence of different rules that specify the same function and that may apply simultaneously (non-ambiguity), and, on the other side, it eliminates the possibility of occurrence of repetitions of variables in the left-hand side of these rules (left linearity). In the theory of term rewriting systems (TRSs) determinism is captured by the well-known property of confluence, that basically states that whenever different computations or simplifications from a term are possible, the computed answers should coincide. Although the proofs are technically elaborated, confluence is well-known to be a consequence of orthogonality. Thus, orthogonality is an important mathematical discipline intrinsic to the specification of recursive functions that is naturally applied in functional programming and specification. Starting from a formalization of the theory of TRSs in the proof assistant PVS, this work describes how confluence of orthogonal TRSs has been formalized, based on axiomatizations of properties of rules, positions and substitutions involved in parallel steps of reduction, in this proof assistant. Proofs for some similar but restricted properties such as the property of confluence of non-ambiguous and (left and right) linear TRSs have been fully formalized.

In Delia Kesner and Petrucio Viana: Proceedings Seventh Workshop on Logical and Semantic Frameworks, with Applications (LSFA 2012), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 29-30, 2012, Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 113, pp. 145–152.
Published: 28th March 2013.

ArXived at: http://dx.doi.org/10.4204/EPTCS.113.14 bibtex PDF
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