Finite Model Theory and Its Applications
This book gives a comprehensive overview of central themes of finite model theory – expressive power, descriptive complexity, and zero-one laws – together with selected applications relating to database theory and artificial intelligence, especially constraint databases and constraint satisfaction problems. The final chapter provides a concise modern introduction to modal logic, emphasizing the continuity in spirit and technique with finite model theory. This underlying spirit involves the use of various fragments of and hierarchies within first-order, second-order, fixed-point, and infinitary logics to gain insight into phenomena in complexity theory and combinatorics.
The book emphasizes the use of combinatorial games, such as extensions and refinements of the Ehrenfeucht-Fraissé pebble game, as a powerful way to analyze the expressive power of such logics, and illustrates how deep notions from model theory and combinatorics, such as o-minimality and treewidth, arise naturally in the application of finite model theory to database theory and AI.
Students of logic and computer science will find here the tools necessary to embark on research into finite model theory, and all readers will experience the excitement of a vibrant area of the application of logic to computer science.
An introduction to the central topics in finite-model theory together with par-excellence applications of finite-model theory to database theory and AI