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Current postgraduate taught students

COMP60332: Automated Reasoning and Verification (2012-2013)

This is an archived syllabus from 2012-2013

Automated Reasoning and Verification
Level: 6
Credit rating: 15
Pre-requisites: none
Co-requisites: none
Duration: 6 weeks long; teaching will take place on 1 day per week for 5 weeks
Lectures: Lecturers will be interspersed with example classes and labs on teaching days
Examples classes: Example classes will take place on teaching days
Labs: Labs will take place on teaching days
Course Leader: Renate Schmidt
Additional Lecturers: Konstantin Korovin
Course leader: Renate Schmidt

Additional staff: view all staff
Sem 2 P3 Lecture 2.15 Fri 09:00 - 17:00 -
Assessment Breakdown
Exam: 50%
Coursework: 50%
Lab: 0%

Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Reasoning and Optimisation


Logic and reasoning plays an important role in computer science and practical areas of computing such as software and hardware verification, program analysis, security, semantic web and AI. For example, in web and agent technologies logical and automated reasoning methods are used for the intelligent processing of large ontologies, for decision making based on knowledge bases of structured data, and for formal specification and verification of web services. Another application of logic and automated reasoning is in software and hardware verification, in particular, automated reasoning tools are successfully used in large software and hardware companies such as Intel and Microsoft. An important part of the systems development process concerns reasoning about the behaviour of systems in order to verify the correctness of the behaviour. The main motivation of the course is the study and development of general and efficient techniques, which form the basis of state-of-the-art automated reasoning systems and verification tools.


The course aims at providing an understanding of propositional logic, first-order logic and clause logic, giving an introduction to theoretical concepts and results that form the basis of current automated reasoning systems based on DPLL and resolution, and discussin verification as an important application domain.

Programme outcomeUnit learning outcomesAssessment
A1 A2 B3Have knowledge and understanding of the syntax and semantics of classical propositional and first-order logic as well as clause logic.
  • Lab assessment
  • Examination
  • Individual coursework
A1 A2 B3Have understanding of the propositional reasoning based on DPLL.
  • Examination
  • Individual coursework
  • Lab assessment
B2 C3Be able to use the SAT solver, MiniSAT, and apply it to solve reasoning problems.
  • Individual coursework
  • Lab assessment
  • Examination
A1 A2 B3Have an understanding of advanced techniques of resolution theorem proving and be able to use them.
  • Individual coursework
  • Examination
  • Lab assessment
B2 C3Be able to use the SPASS resolution prover and apply it to solve reasoning problems.
  • Lab assessment
  • Individual coursework
A1 A2 B3Have an understanding of issues relating to verification and gain experience in using automated reasoning for verification purposes.
  • Examination
  • Individual coursework
  • Lab assessment


The following lists the topics to be covered in the course. The teaching days will contain a mixture of lectures, examples classes, supervised laboratories and self-study. The number of lectures for each topic are given in brackets.

Introduction to logics and applications (1)

Orderings, multi-sets, induction (1)

Propositional logic (2)
- syntax, semantics, truth tables
- concepts and results of soundness and completeness, decidability

Transformations to normal forms (1)
- CNF, NNF, clauses

Propositional reasoning methods (4)
- Propositional resolution, resolution rule, factoring rule, proofs
- DPLL & SAT-solving, unit propagation, backtracking, backjumping, lemma learning

First-order logic (4)
- the language of first-order logic
- substitutions
- normal forms, clauses, optimised normal forms

Semantics of first-order logic (3)
- Herbrand models
- concepts and results of soundness and completeness
- orderings, model building

Resolution theorem proving (4)
- unifiers, unification algorithm
- basic first-order resolution, ordering and selection refinements
- redundancy elimination, distributed reasoning as application
- Using SPASS

Verification (2)
- hardware verification

Reading List

There is no single book covering all material, but the following give a good introduction to logical systems and reasoning methods. There are other text books available on the topics covered.

Fitting, Schoning and Voronkov will give a good introduction to logical systems and reasoning methods and should appeal to students who find Kelly too basic.

Notes made available during the course unit to cover the SPASS theorem prover and all of the various topics presented in the course.

Further details will be presented in the course.

Title: First-order logic and automated theorem proving (2nd edition)
Author: Fitting, Melvin
ISBN: 0387945938
Publisher: Springer
Edition: 2nd
Year: 1995

Title: Logic for Computer Scientists
Author: Schoning, Uwe
ISBN: 9780817647629
Publisher: Birkhauser Verlag AG
Year: 2008

Title: Essence of logic
Author: Kelly, John
ISBN: 0133963756
Publisher: Pearson Education Limited
Year: 1997