Practical Algebraic Calculus and Nullstellensatz with the Checkers Pacheck and Pastèque and Nuss-Checker
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Automated reasoning techniques based on computer algebra have seen renewed interest in recent years and are for example heavily used in formal verification of arithmetic circuits. However, the verification process might contain errors. Generating and checking proof certificates is important to increase the trust in automated reasoning tools. For algebraic reasoning, two proof systems, Nullstellensatz and polynomial calculus, are available and are well-known in proof complexity. A Nullstellensatz proof captures whether a polynomial can be represented as a linear combination of a given set of polynomials by providing the co-factors of the linear combination. Proofs in polynomial calculus dynamically capture that a polynomial can be derived from a given set of polynomials using algebraic ideal theory. In this article we present the practical algebraic calculus as an instantiation of the polynomial calculus that can be checked efficiently. We further modify the practical algebraic calculus and gain LPAC (practical algebraic calculus + linear combinations) that includes linear combinations. In this way we are not only able to represent both Nullstellensatz and polynomial calculus proofs, but we are also able to blend both proof formats. Furthermore, we introduce extension rules to simulate essential rewriting techniques required in practice. For efficiency we also make use of indices for existing polynomials and include deletion rules too. We demonstrate the different proof formats on the use case of arithmetic circuit verification and discuss how these proofs can be produced as a by-product in formal verification. We present the proof checkers Pacheck, Pastèque, and Nuss-Checker. Pacheck checks proofs in practical algebraic calculus more efficiently than Pastèque, but the latter is formally verified using the proof assistant Isabelle/HOL. The tool Nuss-Checker is used to check proofs in the Nullstellensatz format.