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This is an archived syllabus from 2014-2015

COMP60332 Automated Reasoning and Verification syllabus 2014-2015

COMP60332 Automated Reasoning and Verification

Level 6
Credits: 15
Enrolled students: 34

Course leader: Renate Schmidt

Additional staff: view all staff

Assessment methods

  • 50% Written exam
  • 50% Coursework
Sem 2 P3 Lecture 2.15 Fri 09:00 - 17:00 -
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.


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 and 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

Teaching methods


Lecturers will be interspersed with example classes and labs on teaching days

Examples classes

Example classes will take place on teaching days


Labs will take place on teaching days

Feedback methods

Exercise classes; assessment and feedback on written assignments.

Study hours

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Problem solving
  • Research
  • Written communication

Learning outcomes

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
  • Individual coursework
  • Examination
A1 A2 B3Have understanding of the propositional reasoning based on DPLL.
  • Lab assessment
  • Individual coursework
  • Examination
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
  • Lab assessment
  • Examination
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

Reading list

First-order logic and automated theorem proving (2nd edition)Fitting, Melvin0387945938Springer1995
Logic for Computer ScientistsSchoning, Uwe9780817647629Birkhauser Verlag AG2008
Essence of logicKelly, John0133963756Pearson Education Limited1997

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.