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A rewriting framework and logic for activities subject to regulations


Activities such as clinical investigations (CIs) or financial processes are subject to regulations to ensure quality of results and avoid negative consequences. Regulations may be imposed by multiple governmental agencies as well as by institutional policies and protocols. Due to the complexity of both regulations and activities, there is great potential for violation due to human error, misunderstanding, or even intent. Executable formal models of regulations, protocols and activities can form the foundation for automated assistants to aid planning, monitoring and compliance checking. We propose a model based on multiset rewriting where time is discrete and is specified by timestamps attached to facts. Actions, as well as initial, goal and critical states may be constrained by means of relative time constraints. Moreover, actions may have non-deterministic effects, i.e. they may have different outcomes whenever applied. We present a formal semantics of our model based on focused proofs of linear logic with definitions. We also determine the computational complexity of various planning problems. Plan compliance problem, for example, is the problem of finding a plan that leads from an initial state to a desired goal state without reaching any undesired critical state. We consider all actions to be balanced, i.e. their pre- and post-conditions have the same number of facts. Under this assumption on actions, we show that the plan compliance problem is PSPACE-complete when all actions have only deterministic effects and is EXPTIME-complete when actions may have non-deterministic effects. Finally, we show that the restrictions on the form of actions and time constraints taken in the specification of our model are necessary for decidability of the planning problems.

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Mathematical Structures in Computer Science
  • ISSN: 0960-1295
  • EISSN: 1469-8072
  • URL: /core/journals/mathematical-structures-in-computer-science
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