Finite-model theory - a personal perspective

Ronald Fagin
1993 Theoretical Computer Science  
Fagin. R., Finite-mode1 theory -a personal perspective, Theoretical Computer Science 116 (1993) 3-31. Finite-model theory is a study of the logical properties of finite mathematical structures. This paper is a very personalized view of finite-model theory, where the author focuses on his own personal history, and results and problems of interest to him, especially those springing from work in his Ph.D. thesis. Among the topics discussed are: (1) D#&mces herween the model theory of'jinire
more » ... res and infinite structures. Most of the classical theorems of logic fail for finite structures, which gives us a challenge to develop new concepts and tools, appropriate for finite structures. (2) The rehtionship between ,finite-model theory and complexity rheorp. Surprisingly enough, it turns out that, in some cases, we can characterize complexity classes (such as NP) in terms of logic, where there is no notion of machine, computation, or time. (3) O-l lags. There is a remarkable phenomenon which says that certain properties (such as those expressible in first-order logic) are either almost surely true or almost surely false. (4) Descriptice complexity theory. Here we consider how complex a formula must be to express a given property. In recent years, there has been a re-awakening of interest in finite-mode1 theory. One goal of this paper is to help "fan the flames" of interest, by introducing more researchers to this fascinating area.
doi:10.1016/0304-3975(93)90218-i fatcat:hmpnxjt5bvg37nwy6agiccmlm4