Generating readable proofs: a heuristic approach to theorum proving with spider diagrams

Jean Flower, Judith Masthoff, Gem Stapleton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


An important aim of diagrammatic reasoning is to make it easier for people to create and understand logical arguments. We have worked on spider diagrams, which visually express logical statements. Ideally, automatically generated proofs should be short and easy to understand. An existing proof generator for spider diagrams successfully writes proofs, but they can be long and unwieldy. In this paper, we present a new approach to proof writing in diagrammatic systems, which is guaranteed to find shortest proofs and can be extended to incorporate other readability criteria. We apply the A* algorithm and develop an admissible heuristic function to guide automatic proof construction. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the heuristic used. The work has been implemented as part of a spider diagram reasoning tool.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Third International Conference, Diagrams 2004
EditorsA. Blackwell, K. Marriott, A. Shimojima
Place of PublicationBerlin, Germany
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783540212683
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004
EventProceedings of the Third International Conference, Diagrams 2004 - Cambridge, UK, March 22-24, 2004
Duration: 1 Jan 2004 → …

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science


ConferenceProceedings of the Third International Conference, Diagrams 2004
Period1/01/04 → …


  • Visual languages
  • Spider diagrams
  • Heuristics

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