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Computing Cost Estimates for Proof Strategies

Knut Hinkelmann; Helge Hintze
DFKI, DFKI Research Reports (RR), Vol. 94-10, 1994.


In this paper we extend work of Treitel and Genesereth for calculating cost estimates for alternative proof methods of logic programs. We consider four methods: (1) forward chaining by semi-naive bottom-up evaluation, (2) goal-directed forward chaining by semi-naive bottom-up evaluation after Generalized Magic-Sets rewriting, (3) backward chaining by OLD resolution, and (4) memoing backward chaining by OLDT resolution. The methods can interact during a proof. After motivating the advantages of each of the proof methods, we show how the effort for the proof can be estimated. The calculation is based on indirect domain knowledge like the number of initial facts and the number of possible values for variables. From this information we can estimate the probability that facts are derived multiple times. An important valuation factor for a proof strategy is whether these duplicates are eliminated. For systematic analysis we distinguish between in costs and out costs of a rule. The out costs correspond to the number of calls of a rule. In costs are the costs for proving the premises of a clause. Then we show how the selection of a proof method for one rule influences the effort of other rules. Finally we discuss problems of estimating costs for recursive rules and propose a solution for a restricted case.