Finding small counterexamples for abstract rewriting properties

HANS ZANTEMA
2018 Mathematical Structures in Computer Science  
Rewriting notions like termination, normal forms and confluence can be described in an abstract way referring to rewriting only as a binary relation. Several theorems on rewriting, like Newman's lemma, can be proved in this abstract setting. For investigating possible generalizations of such theorems, it is fruitful to have counterexamples showing that particular generalizations do not hold. In this paper, we develop a technique to find such counterexamples fully automatically, and we describe
more » ... y, and we describe our tool Carpa that follows this technique. The basic idea is to fix the number of objects of the abstract rewrite system, and to express the conditions and the negation of the conclusion in a satisfiability (SAT) formula, and then call a current SAT solver. In case the formula turns out to be satisfiable, the resulting satisfying assignment yields a counterexample to the encoded property. We give several examples of finite abstract rewrite systems having remarkable properties that are found in this way fully automatically.
doi:10.1017/s0960129518000221 fatcat:gbj6elu7kreo5dunggttvv6m64