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The extensions of first-order logic with a least fixed point operators (FO + LFP) and with a partial fixed point operator (FO + PFP) are known to capture the complexity classes P and PSPACE respectively in the presence of an ordering relation over finite structures. Recently, Abiteboul and Vianu [AV91b] investigated the relation of these two logics in the absence of an ordering, using a mchine model of generic computation. In particular, they showed that the two languages have equivalent expressive power if and only if P = PSPACE. These languages can also be seen as fragments of an infinitary logic where each formula has a bounded number of variables, Lω∞ω (see, for instance, [KV90]). We present a treatment of the results in [AV91b] from this point of view. In particular, we show that we can write a formula of FO + LFP and P from ordered structures to classes of structures where every element is definable. We also settle a conjecture mentioned in [AV91b] by showing that FO + LFP in properly contained in the polynomial time computable fragment of Lω∞ω, raising the question of whether the latter fragment is a recursively enumerable class.
Anuj Dawar, Steven Lindell, and Scott Weinstein, "Infinitary Logic and Inductive Definability Over Finite Structures", . November 1991.
Date Posted: 05 August 2007