An MIU Decision Procedure in Lean #

The MIU formal system was introduced by Douglas Hofstadter in the first chapter of his 1979 book, Gödel, Escher, Bach. The system is defined by four rules of inference, one axiom, and an alphabet of three symbols: M, I, and U.

Hofstadter's central question is: can the string "MU" be derived?

It transpires that there is a simple decision procedure for this system. A string is derivable if and only if it starts with M, contains no other Ms, and the number of Is in the string is congruent to 1 or 2 modulo 3.

The principal aim of this project is to give a Lean proof that the derivability of a string is a decidable predicate.

The MIU System #

In Hofstadter's description, an atom is any one of M, I or U. A string is a finite sequence of zero or more symbols. To simplify notation, we write a sequence [I,U,U,M], for example, as IUUM.

The four rules of inference are:

  1. xI → xIU,
  2. Mx → Mxx,
  3. xIIIy → xUy,
  4. xUUy → xy,

where the notation α → β is to be interpreted as 'if α is derivable, then β is derivable'.

Additionally, he has an axiom:

In Lean, it is natural to treat the rules of inference and the axiom on an equal footing via an inductive data type Derivable designed so that Derivable x represents the notion that the string x can be derived from the axiom by the rules of inference. The axiom is represented as a nonrecursive constructor for Derivable. This mirrors the translation of Peano's axiom '0 is a natural number' into the nonrecursive constructor zero of the inductive type Nat.

References #

Tags #

miu, derivable strings

Declarations and instance derivations for MiuAtom and Miustr #

inductive Miu.MiuAtom :

The atoms of MIU can be represented as an enumerated type in Lean.

Instances For

    The annotation deriving DecidableEq above indicates that Lean will automatically derive that MiuAtom is an instance of DecidableEq. The use of deriving is crucial in this project and will lead to the automatic derivation of decidability.

    We show that the type MiuAtom is inhabited, giving M (for no particular reason) as the default element.


    MiuAtom.repr is the 'natural' function from MiuAtom to String.

    Instances For

      Using MiuAtom.repr, we prove that MiuAtom is an instance of Repr.


      For simplicity, an Miustr is just a list of elements of type MiuAtom.

      Instances For

        For display purposes, an Miustr can be represented as a String.

        Instances For

          In the other direction, we set up a coercion from String to Miustr.

          Instances For

            Derivability #

            The inductive type Derivable has five constructors. The nonrecursive constructor mk corresponds to Hofstadter's axiom that "MI" is derivable. Each of the constructors r1, r2, r3, r4 corresponds to the one of Hofstadter's rules of inference.

            Instances For

              Rule usage examples #

              Derivability examples #