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S.: Passages of proof
 Bull. Eur. Assoc. Theor. Comput. Sci. EATCS
, 2004
"... Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them? Hamlet 3/1, by W. Shakespeare In this paper we propose a new perspective on the evolution and history of the idea of mathematical proof. Proofs w ..."
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Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them? Hamlet 3/1, by W. Shakespeare In this paper we propose a new perspective on the evolution and history of the idea of mathematical proof. Proofs will be studied at three levels: syntactical, semantical and pragmatical. Computerassisted proofs will be give a special attention. Finally, in a highly speculative part, we will anticipate the evolution of proofs under the assumption that the quantum computer will materialize. We will argue that there is little ‘intrinsic ’ difference between traditional and ‘unconventional ’ types of proofs. 2 Mathematical Proofs: An Evolution in Eight Stages Theory is to practice as rigour is to vigour. D. E. Knuth Reason and experiment are two ways to acquire knowledge. For a long time mathematical
Formal Proof: Reconciling Correctness and Understanding
"... A good proof is a proof that makes us wiser. Manin [41, p. 209]. Abstract. Hilbert’s concept of formal proof is an ideal of rigour for mathematics which has important applications in mathematical logic, but seems irrelevant for the practice of mathematics. The advent, in the last twenty years, of pr ..."
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A good proof is a proof that makes us wiser. Manin [41, p. 209]. Abstract. Hilbert’s concept of formal proof is an ideal of rigour for mathematics which has important applications in mathematical logic, but seems irrelevant for the practice of mathematics. The advent, in the last twenty years, of proof assistants was followed by an impressive record of deep mathematical theorems formally proved. Formal proof is practically achievable. With formal proof, correctness reaches a standard that no penandpaper proof can match, but an essential component of mathematics — the insight and understanding — seems to be in short supply. So, what makes a proof understandable? To answer this question we first suggest a list of symptoms of understanding. We then propose a vision of an environment in which users can write and check formal proofs as well as query them with reference to the symptoms of understanding. In this way, the environment reconciles the main features of proof: correctness and understanding. 1