Descriptive complexity classifies problems based on how hard it is to express the problem in some logical formalism.

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Complexity of intersection of regular languages as context-free grammars

Given regular expressions $R_1, \dots, R_n$, are there any non-trivial bounds on the size of the smallest context-free grammar for $R_1 \cap \cdots \cap R_n$?
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Expressiveness of Infinitary Logic

I'm trying to put together a general picture of the expressiveness of some logics: First-Order Logics, Fixed-Point Logics, (Finite Variable) Infinitary Logics and the respected versions with Counting. ...
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Completeness of the extension of first order logic with least fixed point order operator

Is there any result about the extension of first order logic with least fixed point operator, being complete (as logic in general on infinite structures too) or not? In other words does the Goedel ...
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Infinitary Counting Logics: 1-sorted vs. 2-sorted framework

There are two ways to extend infinitary logic with counting: Grädel's way (cf. p. 11): We extend $L_{\infty\omega}$ by introducing a counting existential quantifier: $$ \mathcal{A} \models ...
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Is infinitary logic a logic in the sense of Gurevich?

Gurevich provides an exact definition of what Logic capturing PTIME is. An abstract logic $L$ consists of a set of $L[\tau]$-sentences for each vocabulary $\tau$, and a mapping that maps a property ...
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What is wrong with this $\mathsf{L} \subseteq \mathsf{L}-$uniform $\mathsf{NC}^1$ argument?

The following is not believed to be true: $\mathsf{L} \subseteq \mathsf{L}-\mbox{uniform } \mathsf{NC}^1$ Can you help me see where the argument breaks down? The directed reachability problem ...
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Context-free Grammar for a Context-free Language Intersecting a Regular Language (get the Maximum Number of Rules)

It is well known that the intersection of $L \cap R$ of a context-free Language $L$ and a regular Language $R$ is context-free. Each proof I have seen constructs a automaton (a PDA) that accepts $L$ ...
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What is a commutative transitive closure operator?

When reading about descriptive complexity theory, I have read about a "commutative transitive closure operator". I understand transitive closure operators, but what is a commutative transitive closure ...
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How can we express “$P=PSPACE$” as a first-order formula? [closed]

How can we express "$P=PSPACE$" as a first-order formula? Which level of the arithmetic hierarchy contains this formula (and what is the currently known minimum level of the hierarchy that contains ...
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Least fixed point logic is efficiently $\operatorname{P}$-bounded for $\operatorname{P} \Leftrightarrow L_\leq$ is a logic for $\operatorname{P}$

A least-fixed point (LFP) formula is $\leq m$-invariant iff f.a. structrues $\mathcal{A}$ with $|A| \leq m$ and all orderings $<_1,<_2$ on $A$ $$(\mathcal{A},<_1) \models_{LFP} \varphi ...
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Consequences of a $p$-optimal proof system for $\operatorname{TAUT}$

I'm reading a paper which shows the result: $(1)$ There is a $p$-optimal proof system for $\operatorname{TAUT}$. $\Leftrightarrow$ $(2)$ $L_{\leq}$ is a $P$-bounded logic for $P$. Both $(1)$ and ...
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Understanding least-fixed point logic

To better understand a paper I'm trying to get a brief understanding of least-fixed point logic. There are a few points where I am stuck. If $G = (V,E)$ is a graph and $$ \Phi(P) = \{(a,b) \mid G ...
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Intuition behind proof systems

I'm trying to under stand the paper On p-Optimal Proof Systems and Logic for PTIME. There is a notion called proof systems in the paper and I do not get the intution: $\Sigma = \{0,1\}$ ... We ...
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Descriptive complexity characterization of TimeSpace classes

Are there descriptive complexity characterizations for TimeSpace complexity classes like $\mathsf{SC^i}= \mathsf{DTimeSpace}(n^{O(1)},O(\lg^i n))$?
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FO-uniform AC0 with some predicate

My question is about finite model theory/descriptive complexity, so $FO(R)$ will mean "first order over finite binary words, using predicates Rs and a unary predicate P true on the position of the 1 ...
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Proof assistant formalizations of Finite Model Theory

I'm wondering if anyone knows of a formalization (even limited) of any part of finite model theory in any of the major proof assistants. (I'm most familiar with Coq, but Isabelle, Agda, etc. would ...
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When does an FO property kill off NL-hardness?

Context: We consider only digraphs. Let CYCLE be the language of graphs with a cycle; it is an NL-complete problem. Let HASEDGE be the language of graphs with at least one edge. Then trivially, ...
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Logic capturing automorphism-invariant $\mathsf{AC^0}$ properties

Q1. Is there a logic that is computable in polynomial-time which contains all order-invariant properties computable in smaller classes like $\mathsf{AC^0}$ (or $\mathsf{TC^0}$)? Motivation As ...
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Using MSOL for solving BIDS problem

From "Linear Time Solvable Optimization Problems on Graphs of Bounded Clique Width" (B. Courcelle et al) we know that any problem that can be written on MSOL (Monadic Second Order Logic) has a linear ...
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Why do relational databases work at all, given the theoretical exponential complexity of answer finding (in the size of the query)?

It seems to be known that to find an answer to a query $Q$ over a relational database $D$, one needs time $|D|^{|Q|}$, and one cannot get rid of the exponent $|Q|$. As $D$ can be very large, we ...
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What is First-Order Rewritable (and FO-Query)?

I just wonder what FO Rewritable is, put an example to make it clearer for me. Also, I heard that a language that is FO Rewritable is very good, in what sense? It is said as follow: A class C of ...
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MSOL optimization problems on graphs of bounded cliquewidth, with cardinality predicates

CMSOL is Counting Monadic Second Order Logic, i.e. a logic of graphs where the domain is the set of vertices and edges, there are predicates for vertex-vertex adjacency and edge-vertex incidence, ...
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What is the parameterized complexity of following model checking problem?

Input: Graph $G$ and formula $\varphi_1(\vec x),\varphi_2(\vec x)$ Parameter: $tw(G)+|\varphi_1|+|\varphi_2|$ Problem: Decide if $|\varphi_1(G)|=|\varphi_2(G)|$ where $tw(G)$ is the treewidth ...
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Searching for matching queries

Suppose you have a large set of queries (could be in SQL form, but conceivably the same problem exists for search engine query strings or Lucene expressions, etc...) stored and you want to know which ...
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Could a descriptive complexity version of Rice's theorem be used to separate AC0 and PSPACE?

In this question, it was mentioned that there are descriptive complexity versions of Rice's theorem. I found a proof of the following theorem: Given a complexity class C, nontrivial properties of ...
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Is testing two SO-Horn queries for equivalence decidable?

It follows from Rice's theorem that you cannot determine whether or not two Turing machines decide the same language. My question is: Does this also apply in descriptive complexity settings, ...
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Are there descriptive complexity representations of quantum complexity classes?

The title more or less says it all, but I guess I could add a bit of background and some specific examples I'm interested in. Descriptive complexity theorists, such as Immerman and Fagin, have ...
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SAT in finite model theory without order

It is well known in finite model theory that without an order on the input, the expressivity is very limited. For example it is known that $FO(<,\textit{PFP})$ is equal to PSPACE, and ...
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Finite One-Way Permutation with Infinite Domain

Let $\pi \colon \{0,1\}^* \to \{0,1\}^*$ be a permutation. Note that while $\pi$ acts on an infinite domain, its description might be finite. By description, I mean a program that describes $\pi$'s ...
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Model-checking for three-variable logics and restricted structures

Denote the $k$-variable fragment of logic $L$ by $L^{(k)}$. The model-checking problem for a logic $L$ with respect to a class of structures $C$, denoted $MC(L,C)$, is the decision problem ...
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Non-interesting numbers via resource-bounded properties?

There is an old joke about the smallest non-interesting number being interesting in itself (I have heard it attributed to Richard Hamming). This is then used to justify the argument that every number ...
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Is there a natural restriction of VO logic which captures P or NP?

The paper Lauri Hella and José María Turull-Torres, Computing queries with higher-order logics, TCS 355 197–214, 2006. doi: 10.1016/j.tcs.2006.01.009 proposes logic VO, variable-order logic. This ...
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Ehrenfeucht-Fraïssé games (Ajtai-Fagin in fact) for regular languages.

Immerman (Descriptive Complexity, 1999) presents the EF games for existential monadic second order (Ajtai-Fagin games) on page 127. As $\exists$MSO on words is equivalent to regular languages, the ...
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Is there a logic without induction that captures much of P?

The Immerman-Vardi theorem states that PTIME (or P) is precisely the class of languages that can be described by a sentence of First-Order Logic together with a fixed-point operator, over the class of ...
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Collapsing of exptime and alternation bounded turing machine

This question was already asked on math overflow, but I did not find any answer to my question (or let say the answer was that up to the knowledge of those people, no answer were known) Let C be a ...
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To what extent MSO = WS1S, when adding relations?

[This question has been asked on MathOverflow with no luck a month ago.] Let me first clarify my definitions. For a word $w \in \Sigma^*$, with $\Sigma =\{a_1, \ldots, a_n\}$, I define two ...