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On the Decision Problem for TwoVariable FirstOrder Logic
, 1997
"... We identify the computational complexity of the satisfiability problem for FO², the fragment of firstorder logic consisting of all relational firstorder sentences with at most two distinct variables. Although this fragment was shown to be decidable a long time ago, the computational complexity ..."
Abstract

Cited by 69 (1 self)
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We identify the computational complexity of the satisfiability problem for FO², the fragment of firstorder logic consisting of all relational firstorder sentences with at most two distinct variables. Although this fragment was shown to be decidable a long time ago, the computational complexity of its decision problem has not been pinpointed so far. In 1975 Mortimer proved that FO² has the finitemodel property, which means that if an FO²sentence is satisfiable, then it has a finite model. Moreover, Mortimer showed that every satisfiable FO²sentence has a model whose size is at most doubly exponential in the size of the sentence. In this paper, we improve Mortimer's bound by one exponential and show that every satisfiable FO²sentence has a model whose size is at most exponential in the size of the sentence. As a consequence, we establish that the satisfiability problem for FO² is NEXPTIMEcomplete.