First-Order Logic in Finite Domains: Where Semantic Evaluation Competes with SMT Solving

Wolfgang Schreiner
(Johannes Kepler University Linz)
Franz-Xaver Reichl
(TU Wien)

In this paper, we compare two alternative mechanisms for deciding the validity of first-order formulas over finite domains supported by the mathematical model checker RISCAL: first, the original approach of semantic evaluation (based on an implementation of the denotational semantics of the RISCAL language) and, second, the later approach of SMT solving (based on satisfiability preserving translations of RISCAL formulas to SMT-LIB formulas as inputs for SMT solvers). After a short presentation of the two approaches and a discussion of their fundamental pros and cons, we quantitatively evaluate them, both by a set of artificial benchmarks and by a set of benchmarks taken from real-life applications of RISCAL; for this, we apply the state-of-the-art SMT solvers Boolector, CVC4, Yices, and Z3. Our benchmarks demonstrate that (while SMT solving generally vastly outperforms semantic evaluation), the various SMT solvers exhibit great performance differences. More important, we identify classes of formulas where semantic evaluation is able to compete with (or even outperform) satisfiability solving, outlining some room for improvements in the translation of RISCAL formulas to SMT-LIB formulas as well as in the current SMT technology.

In Temur Kutsia: Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Symbolic Computation in Software Science (SCSS 2021), Hagenberg, Austria, September 8-10, 2021, Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 342, pp. 99–113.
Published: 6th September 2021.

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