On the Finite Model Property in Order-Sorted Logic

Timothy Nelson, Daniel J. Dougherty, Kathi Fisler, Shriram Krishnamurthi

Synthesis, Verification, and Analysis of Rich Models, 2010


The Schoenfinkel-Bernays-Ramsey class is a fragment of first-order logic with the Finite Model Property: a sentence in this class is satisfiable if and only if it is satisfied in a finite model. Since an upper bound on the size of such a model is computable from the sentence, the satisfiability problem for this family is decidable. Sentences in this form arise naturally in a variety of application areas, and several popular reasoning tools explicitly target this class.

Others have observed that the class of sentences for which such a finite model theorem holds is richer in a many-sorted framework than in the one-sorted case. This paper makes a systematic study of this phenomenon in the general setting of order-sorted logic supporting overloading and empty sorts. We establish a syntactic condition generalizing the Schoenfinkel-Bernays-Ramsey form that ensures the Finite Model Property. We give a linear-time algorithm for deciding this condition and a polynomial-time algorithm for computing the bound on model sizes. As a consequence, model-finding is a complete decision procedure for sentences in this class. Our algorithms have been incorporated into Margrave, a tool for analysis of access-control and firewall policies, and are available in a standalone application suitable for analyzing input to the Alloy model finder.


These results have been incorporated into our Margrave tool for policy analysis. For a more accessible version of this presentation, see our newer conference paper.



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