author paulson
Thu, 21 Apr 2005 13:15:25 +0200
changeset 15788 ebcbffebdf97
parent 15296 36fb400f6727
permissions -rw-r--r--
adding the Proof General preview

Isabelle overview


<a href="">Isabelle</a> is a generic proof
assistant. It allows mathematical formulas to be expressed in a formal
language and provides tools for proving those formulas in a logical
calculus. The main application is the formalization of mathematical proofs
and in particular <em>formal verification</em>, which includes proving the
correctness of computer hardware or software and proving properties of
computer languages and protocols.

<p>Compared with similar tools, Isabelle's distinguishing feature is
its flexibility. Most proof assistants are built around a single
formal calculus, typically higher-order logic. Isabelle has the
capacity to accept a variety of formal calculi. The distributed
version supports higher-order logic but also axiomatic set theory and
several <a href="logics.html">other formalisms</a>. Isabelle provides
excellent notational support: new notations can be introduced, using
normal mathematical symbols. Proofs can be written in a structured
notation based upon traditional proof style, or more straightforwardly
as sequences of commands. Definitions and proofs may include TeX
source, from which Isabelle can automatically generate typeset

<p>The main limitation of all such systems is that proving theorems
requires much effort from an expert user. Isabelle incorporates some
tools to improve the user's productivity by automating some parts of
the proof process. In particular, Isabelle's <em>classical
reasoner</em> can perform long chains of reasoning steps to prove
formulas. The <em>simplifier</em> can reason with and about equations.
Linear <em>arithmetic</em> facts are proved automatically. Isabelle is
closely integrated with the <a
General</a> user interface, which eases the task of writing and
maintaining proof scripts. </p>

A hyperlinked <a href="">preview</a> demonstrating Isabelle and Proof
General is provided in 
<a href="">QuickTime format</a>, 
and also as a non-hyperlinked <a href="PG-preview.pdf">PDF file</a>.

<p>Isabelle comes with large theories of formally verified
mathematics, including elementary number theory (for example, Gauss's
law of quadratic reciprocity), analysis (basic properties of limits,
derivatives and integrals), algebra (up to Sylow's theorem) and set
theory (the relative consistency of the Axiom of Choice). Also
provided are numerous examples arising from research into formal
verification. Isabelle is <a href="dist/">distributed</a> free of
charge to academic users.</p>

<p>Ample <a href="dist/docs.html">documentation</a> is available,
including a <a
href="">Tutorial</a> published
by Springer-Verlag. Several <a
on the design of Isabelle are available. There is also a list of past
and present <a
undertaken using Isabelle. </p>

<p>Isabelle is a joint project between <a
href="">Lawrence C. Paulson</a>
(University of Cambridge, UK) and <a
href="">Tobias Nipkow</a> (Technical
University of Munich, Germany).</p>