Automated theorem proving in Euler diagram systems

Gem Stapleton, Judith Masthoff, Jean Flower, Andrew Fish, Jane Southern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diagrammatic reasoning has the potential to be important in numerous application areas. This paper focuses on the simple, but widely used, Euler diagrams that form the basis of many more expressive logics. We have implemented a diagrammatic theorem prover, called Edith, which has access to four sound and complete sets of reasoning rules for Euler diagrams. Furthermore, for each rule set we develop a sophisticated heuristic to guide the search for a proof. This paper is about understanding how the choice of reasoning rule set affects the time taken to find proofs. Such an understanding will influence reasoning rule design in other logics. Moreover, this work specific to Euler diagrams directly benefits the many logics based on Euler diagrams. We investigate how the time taken to find a proof depends not only on the proof task but also on the reasoning system used. Our evaluation allows us to predict the best choice of reasoning system, given a proof task, in terms of time taken, and we extract a guide for defining reasoning rules for other logics in order to minimize time requirements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-470
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Automated Reasoning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2007


  • Visual languages
  • Euler diagrams
  • Diagrammatic reasoning
  • Heuristics


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