Decidability of definability [article]

Manuel Bodirsky, Michael Pinsker, Todor Tsankov
2012 arXiv   pre-print
For a fixed countably infinite structure \Gamma\ with finite relational signature \tau, we study the following computational problem: input are quantifier-free \tau-formulas \phi_0,\phi_1,...,\phi_n that define relations R_0,R_1,...,R_n over \Gamma. The question is whether the relation R_0 is primitive positive definable from R_1,...,R_n, i.e., definable by a first-order formula that uses only relation symbols for R_1,..., R_n, equality, conjunctions, and existential quantification
more » ... negation, and universal quantification are forbidden). We show decidability of this problem for all structures \Gamma\ that have a first-order definition in an ordered homogeneous structure \Delta\ with a finite relational signature whose age is a Ramsey class and determined by finitely many forbidden substructures. Examples of structures \Gamma\ with this property are the order of the rationals, the random graph, the homogeneous universal poset, the random tournament, all homogeneous universal C-relations, and many more. We also obtain decidability of the problem when we replace primitive positive definability by existential positive, or existential definability. Our proof makes use of universal algebraic and model theoretic concepts, Ramsey theory, and a recent characterization of Ramsey classes in topological dynamics.
arXiv:1012.2381v4 fatcat:gfgrj2mcdzbbzhsrwtsq4am34m