# Searching for fixed point combinators by using automated theorem proving: A preliminary report

In this report, we establish that the use of an automated theorem- proving program to study deep questions from mathematics and logic is indeed an excellent move. Among such problems, we focus mainly on that concerning the construction of fixed point combinators---a problem considered by logicians to be significant and difficult to solve, and often computationally intensive and arduous. To be a fixed point combinator, THETA must satisfy the equation THETAx = x(THETAx) for all combinators x. The specific questions on which we focus most heavily ask, for each chosen set of combinators, whether a fixed point combinator can be constructed from the members of that set. For answering questions of this type, we present a new, sound, and efficient method, called the kernel method, which can be applied quite easily by hand and very easily by an automated theorem-proving program. For the application of the kernel method by a theorem-proving program, we illustrate the vital role that is played by both paramodulation and demodulation---two of the powerful features frequently offered by an automated theorem-proving program for treating equality as if it is ''understood.'' We also state a conjecture that, if proved, establishes the completeness of the kernel method. From what we can ascertain, this method---which relies on the introduced concepts of kernel and superkernel---offers the first systematic approach for searching for fixed point combinators. We successfully apply the new kernel method to various sets of combinators and, for the set consisting of the combinators B and W, construct an infinite set of fixed point combinators such that no two of the combinators are equal even in the presence of extensionality---a law that asserts that two combinators are equal if they behave the same. 18 refs.

- Research Organization:
- Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)

- DOE Contract Number:
- W-31109-ENG-38

- OSTI ID:
- 6852789

- Report Number(s):
- ANL-88-10; ON: DE89001324

- Resource Relation:
- Other Information: Portions of this document are illegible in microfiche products

- Country of Publication:
- United States

- Language:
- English

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