Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

8-2009

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Science in Mathematics

Department

Mathematics

Major Advisor

M. Randall Holmes, Ph.D.

Abstract

The oft-emphasized virtue of formal proof is correctness; a machine-checked proof adds greatly to our confidence in a result. But the rigors of formalization give rise to another possible virtue, namely clarity. Given the state of the art, clarity and formality are at odds: complexity of formalization obscures the content of proof. To address this, we develop a notion of proof strategies which extend the well-known notion of proof tactics. Beginning with the foundations of logic, we describe the methods and structures necessary to implement proof strategies, concluding with a proof-of-concept implementation in CheQED, a web-based proof assistant.

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