Automated theorem proving (ATP) or automated deduction, currently the most well-developed subfield of automated reasoning (AR), is the proving of mathematical theorems by a computer program.

Depending on the underlying logic, the problem of deciding the validity of a formula varies from trivial to impossible. For the frequent case of propositional logic, the problem is decidable but NP-complete, and hence only exponential-time algorithms are believed to exist for general proof tasks. For a first order predicate calculus, with no (“proper”) axioms, Gödel’s completeness theorem states that the theorems (provable statements) are exactly the logically valid well-formed formulas, so identifying valid formulas is recursively enumerable: given unbounded resources, any valid formula can eventually be proven.

However, invalid formulas (those that are not entailed by a given theory), cannot always be recognized.

A simpler, but related, problem is proof verification, where an existing proof for a theorem is certified valid. For this, it is generally required that each individual proof step can be verified by a primitive recursive function or program, and hence the problem is always decidable.

Some techniques for theorem proving


Further reading

How to make it as easily as possible?

A lean theorem prover is an automated theorem prover implemented in a minimum amount of code. Lean provers are generally[citation needed] implemented in Prolog, and make proficient use of the backtracking engine and logic variables of that language. Lean provers can be as small as a few hundred bytes of source code.

The following is a small Prolog implementation:

 a ; b ; c.

The beef is that this procedural definition for a theorem can be converted into an atomistic model so that each domain will be transformed into a symbolic element.

Therefore,  proving  the theorem means running the top element of the theorem. The principle is exactly the same as in source code simulation (see SimulationWare).

When those variable a, b and c will be captured from the original code, this work will enable proving source code sequences written in Java or similar languages.

Some links: