In

/ref> However, there are positions (with finitely many pieces) that are forced wins, but not mate in ''n'' for any finite ''n''. * Some team games with imperfect information on a finite board (but with unlimited time) are undecidable.}

logic
Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science investigating how conclusions follow from prem ...

, a true/false decision problem
In computability theory and computational complexity theory, a decision problem is a computational problem that can be posed as a yes–no question of the input values. An example of a decision problem is deciding by means of an algorithm whet ...

is decidable if there exists an effective method
In logic, mathematics and computer science, especially metalogic and computability theory, an effective method Hunter, Geoffrey, ''Metalogic: An Introduction to the Metatheory of Standard First-Order Logic'', University of California Press, 1971 or ...

for deriving the correct answer. Zeroth-order logic (propositional logic) is decidable, whereas first-order
In mathematics and other formal sciences, first-order or first order most often means either:
* "linear" (a polynomial of degree at most one), as in first-order approximation and other calculus uses, where it is contrasted with "polynomials of hig ...

and higher-order logic are not. Logical system
A formal system is an abstract structure used for inferring theorems from axioms according to a set of rules. These rules, which are used for carrying out the inference of theorems from axioms, are the logical calculus of the formal system.
A fo ...

s are decidable if membership in their set of logically valid formulas (or theorems) can be effectively determined. A theory
A theory is a rational type of abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with such processes as observational study or research. Theories may ...

(set of sentences closed under logical consequence
Logical consequence (also entailment) is a fundamental concept in logic, which describes the relationship between statements that hold true when one statement logically ''follows from'' one or more statements. A valid logical argument is on ...

) in a fixed logical system is decidable if there is an effective method for determining whether arbitrary formulas are included in the theory. Many important problems are undecidable, that is, it has been proven that no effective method for determining membership (returning a correct answer after finite, though possibly very long, time in all cases) can exist for them.
Decidability of a logical system

Eachlogical system
A formal system is an abstract structure used for inferring theorems from axioms according to a set of rules. These rules, which are used for carrying out the inference of theorems from axioms, are the logical calculus of the formal system.
A fo ...

comes with both a syntactic component, which among other things determines the notion of provability, and a semantic component, which determines the notion of logical validity
In logic, specifically in deductive reasoning, an argument is valid if and only if it takes a form that makes it impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion nevertheless to be false. It is not required for a valid argument to h ...

. The logically valid formulas of a system are sometimes called the theorems of the system, especially in the context of first-order logic where Gödel's completeness theorem establishes the equivalence of semantic and syntactic consequence. In other settings, such as linear logic
Linear logic is a substructural logic proposed by Jean-Yves Girard as a refinement of classical and intuitionistic logic, joining the dualities of the former with many of the constructive properties of the latter. Although the logic has also ...

, the syntactic consequence (provability) relation may be used to define the theorems of a system.
A logical system is decidable if there is an effective method for determining whether arbitrary formulas are theorems of the logical system. For example, propositional logic
Propositional calculus is a branch of logic. It is also called propositional logic, statement logic, sentential calculus, sentential logic, or sometimes zeroth-order logic. It deals with propositions (which can be true or false) and relations ...

is decidable, because the truth-table method can be used to determine whether an arbitrary propositional formula
In propositional logic, a propositional formula is a type of syntactic formula which is well formed and has a truth value. If the values of all variables in a propositional formula are given, it determines a unique truth value. A propositional f ...

is logically valid.
First-order logic
First-order logic—also known as predicate logic, quantificational logic, and first-order predicate calculus—is a collection of formal systems used in mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science. First-order logic uses quantifi ...

is not decidable in general; in particular, the set of logical validities in any signature
A signature (; from la, signare, "to sign") is a handwritten (and often stylized) depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" or other mark that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent. The writer of a ...

that includes equality and at least one other predicate with two or more arguments is not decidable. Logical systems extending first-order logic, such as second-order logic
In logic and mathematics, second-order logic is an extension of first-order logic, which itself is an extension of propositional logic. Second-order logic is in turn extended by higher-order logic and type theory.
First-order logic quantifies ...

and type theory
In mathematics, logic, and computer science, a type theory is the formal presentation of a specific type system, and in general type theory is the academic study of type systems. Some type theories serve as alternatives to set theory as a founda ...

, are also undecidable.
The validities of monadic predicate calculus In logic, the monadic predicate calculus (also called monadic first-order logic) is the fragment of first-order logic in which all relation symbols in the signature are monadic (that is, they take only one argument), and there are no function symbo ...

with identity are decidable, however. This system is first-order logic restricted to those signatures that have no function symbols and whose relation symbols other than equality never take more than one argument.
Some logical systems are not adequately represented by the set of theorems alone. (For example, Kleene's logic has no theorems at all.) In such cases, alternative definitions of decidability of a logical system are often used, which ask for an effective method for determining something more general than just validity of formulas; for instance, validity of sequent
In mathematical logic, a sequent is a very general kind of conditional assertion.
: A_1,\,\dots,A_m \,\vdash\, B_1,\,\dots,B_n.
A sequent may have any number ''m'' of condition formulas ''Ai'' (called " antecedents") and any number ''n'' of as ...

s, or the consequence relation of the logic.
Decidability of a theory

Atheory
A theory is a rational type of abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with such processes as observational study or research. Theories may ...

is a set of formulas, often assumed to be closed under logical consequence
Logical consequence (also entailment) is a fundamental concept in logic, which describes the relationship between statements that hold true when one statement logically ''follows from'' one or more statements. A valid logical argument is on ...

. Decidability for a theory concerns whether there is an effective procedure that decides whether the formula is a member of the theory or not, given an arbitrary formula in the signature of the theory. The problem of decidability arises naturally when a theory is defined as the set of logical consequences of a fixed set of axioms.
There are several basic results about decidability of theories. Every (non- paraconsistent) inconsistent theory is decidable, as every formula in the signature of the theory will be a logical consequence of, and thus a member of, the theory. Every complete recursively enumerable
In computability theory, a set ''S'' of natural numbers is called computably enumerable (c.e.), recursively enumerable (r.e.), semidecidable, partially decidable, listable, provable or Turing-recognizable if:
*There is an algorithm such that the ...

first-order theory is decidable. An extension of a decidable theory may not be decidable. For example, there are undecidable theories in propositional logic, although the set of validities (the smallest theory) is decidable.
A consistent theory that has the property that every consistent extension is undecidable is said to be essentially undecidable. In fact, every consistent extension will be essentially undecidable. The theory of fields is undecidable but not essentially undecidable. Robinson arithmetic is known to be essentially undecidable, and thus every consistent theory that includes or interprets Robinson arithmetic is also (essentially) undecidable.
Examples of decidable first-order theories include the theory of real closed fields, and Presburger arithmetic, while the theory of groups
A group is a number of persons or things that are located, gathered, or classed together.
Groups of people
* Cultural group, a group whose members share the same cultural identity
* Ethnic group, a group whose members share the same ethnic ide ...

and Robinson arithmetic are examples of undecidable theories.
Some decidable theories

Some decidable theories include (Monk 1976, p. 234): * The set of first-order logical validities in the signature with only equality, established by Leopold Löwenheim in 1915. * The set of first-order logical validities in a signature with equality and one unary function, established by Ehrenfeucht in 1959. * The first-order theory of the natural numbers in the signature with equality and addition, also called Presburger arithmetic. The completeness was established by Mojżesz Presburger in 1929. * The first-order theory of the natural numbers in the signature with equality and multiplication, also called Skolem arithmetic. * The first-order theory of Boolean algebras, established byAlfred Tarski
Alfred Tarski (, born Alfred Teitelbaum;School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews ''School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews''. January 14, 1901 – October 26, 1983) was a Polish-American logician a ...

in 1940 (found in 1940 but announced in 1949).
* The first-order theory of algebraically closed field
In mathematics, a field is algebraically closed if every non-constant polynomial in (the univariate polynomial ring with coefficients in ) has a root in .
Examples
As an example, the field of real numbers is not algebraically closed, because ...

s of a given characteristic, established by Tarski in 1949.
* The first-order theory of real-closed ordered fields, established by Tarski in 1949 (see also Tarski's exponential function problem).
* The first-order theory of Euclidean geometry
Euclidean geometry is a mathematical system attributed to ancient Greek mathematician Euclid, which he described in his textbook on geometry: the '' Elements''. Euclid's approach consists in assuming a small set of intuitively appealing axio ...

, established by Tarski in 1949.
* The first-order theory of Abelian group
In mathematics, an abelian group, also called a commutative group, is a group in which the result of applying the group operation to two group elements does not depend on the order in which they are written. That is, the group operation is commu ...

s, established by Szmielew in 1955.
* The first-order theory of hyperbolic geometry
In mathematics, hyperbolic geometry (also called Lobachevskian geometry or Bolyai– Lobachevskian geometry) is a non-Euclidean geometry. The parallel postulate of Euclidean geometry is replaced with:
:For any given line ''R'' and point ''P ...

, established by Schwabhäuser in 1959.
* Specific decidable sublanguages of set theory investigated in the 1980s through today.(Cantone ''et al.'', 2001)
* The monadic second-order theory of trees (see S2S).
Methods used to establish decidability include quantifier elimination, model completeness, and the Łoś-Vaught test.
Some undecidable theories

Some undecidable theories include (Monk 1976, p. 279): * The set of logical validities in any first-order signature with equality and either: a relation symbol of arity no less than 2, or two unary function symbols, or one function symbol of arity no less than 2, established by Trakhtenbrot in 1953. * The first-order theory of the natural numbers with addition, multiplication, and equality, established by Tarski and Andrzej Mostowski in 1949. * The first-order theory of the rational numbers with addition, multiplication, and equality, established byJulia Robinson
Julia Hall Bowman Robinson (December 8, 1919July 30, 1985) was an American mathematician noted for her contributions to the fields of computability theory and computational complexity theory—most notably in decision problems. Her work on Hilb ...

in 1949.
* The first-order theory of groups, established by Alfred Tarski
Alfred Tarski (, born Alfred Teitelbaum;School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews ''School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews''. January 14, 1901 – October 26, 1983) was a Polish-American logician a ...

in 1953. Remarkably, not only the general theory of groups is undecidable, but also several more specific theories, for example (as established by Mal'cev 1961) the theory of finite groups. Mal'cev also established that the theory of semigroups and the theory of rings are undecidable. Robinson established in 1949 that the theory of fields is undecidable.
* Robinson arithmetic (and therefore any consistent extension, such as Peano arithmetic
In mathematical logic, the Peano axioms, also known as the Dedekind–Peano axioms or the Peano postulates, are axioms for the natural numbers presented by the 19th century Italian mathematician Giuseppe Peano. These axioms have been used nearly ...

) is essentially undecidable, as established by Raphael Robinson in 1950.
* The first-order theory with equality and two function symbols
The interpretability method is often used to establish undecidability of theories. If an essentially undecidable theory ''T'' is interpretable in a consistent theory ''S'', then ''S'' is also essentially undecidable. This is closely related to the concept of a many-one reduction
In computability theory and computational complexity theory, a many-one reduction (also called mapping reduction) is a reduction which converts instances of one decision problem L_1 into instances of a second decision problem L_2 where the instan ...

in computability theory.
Semidecidability

A property of a theory or logical system weaker than decidability is semidecidability. A theory is semidecidable if there is an effective method which, given an arbitrary formula, will always tell correctly when the formula is in the theory, but may give either a negative answer or no answer at all when the formula is not in the theory. A logical system is semidecidable if there is an effective method for generating theorems (and only theorems) such that every theorem will eventually be generated. This is different from decidability because in a semidecidable system there may be no effective procedure for checking that a formula is ''not'' a theorem. Every decidable theory or logical system is semidecidable, but in general the converse is not true; a theory is decidable if and only if both it and its complement are semi-decidable. For example, the set of logical validities ''V'' of first-order logic is semi-decidable, but not decidable. In this case, it is because there is no effective method for determining for an arbitrary formula ''A'' whether ''A'' is not in ''V''. Similarly, the set of logical consequences of anyrecursively enumerable set
In computability theory, a set ''S'' of natural numbers is called computably enumerable (c.e.), recursively enumerable (r.e.), semidecidable, partially decidable, listable, provable or Turing-recognizable if:
*There is an algorithm such that the ...

of first-order axioms is semidecidable. Many of the examples of undecidable first-order theories given above are of this form.
Relationship with completeness

Decidability should not be confused with completeness. For example, the theory ofalgebraically closed field
In mathematics, a field is algebraically closed if every non-constant polynomial in (the univariate polynomial ring with coefficients in ) has a root in .
Examples
As an example, the field of real numbers is not algebraically closed, because ...

s is decidable but incomplete, whereas the set of all true first-order statements about nonnegative integers in the language with + and × is complete but undecidable.
Unfortunately, as a terminological ambiguity, the term "undecidable statement" is sometimes used as a synonym for independent statement.
Relationship to computability

As with the concept of a decidable set, the definition of a decidable theory or logical system can be given either in terms of ''effective method
In logic, mathematics and computer science, especially metalogic and computability theory, an effective method Hunter, Geoffrey, ''Metalogic: An Introduction to the Metatheory of Standard First-Order Logic'', University of California Press, 1971 or ...

s'' or in terms of ''computable function
Computable functions are the basic objects of study in computability theory. Computable functions are the formalized analogue of the intuitive notion of algorithms, in the sense that a function is computable if there exists an algorithm that can d ...

s''. These are generally considered equivalent per Church's thesis. Indeed, the proof that a logical system or theory is undecidable will use the formal definition of computability to show that an appropriate set is not a decidable set, and then invoke Church's thesis to show that the theory or logical system is not decidable by any effective method (Enderton 2001, pp. 206''ff.'').
In context of games

Somegames
A game is a structured form of play, usually undertaken for entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Many games are also considered to be work (such as professional players of spectator sports or games) or art (such ...

have been classified as to their decidability:
* Chess
Chess is a board game between two players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and shogi (Japanese chess). The current form of the game emerged ...

is decidable. The same holds for all other finite two-player games with perfect information.
* Mate in ''n'' in infinite chess (with limitations on rules and gamepieces) is decidable.Mathoverflow.net/Decidability-of-chess-on-an-infinite-board Decidability-of-chess-on-an-infinite-board/ref> However, there are positions (with finitely many pieces) that are forced wins, but not mate in ''n'' for any finite ''n''. * Some team games with imperfect information on a finite board (but with unlimited time) are undecidable.}

See also

*Entscheidungsproblem
In mathematics and computer science, the ' (, ) is a challenge posed by David Hilbert and Wilhelm Ackermann in 1928. The problem asks for an algorithm that considers, as input, a statement and answers "Yes" or "No" according to whether the state ...

*Existential quantification
In predicate logic, an existential quantification is a type of quantifier, a logical constant which is interpreted as "there exists", "there is at least one", or "for some". It is usually denoted by the logical operator symbol ∃, which, ...

References

Notes

Bibliography

* * * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Decidability (Logic) Proof theory Metalogic Concepts in logic