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The structure of first-order causality



Game semantics describe the interactive behaviour of proofs by interpreting formulas as games on which proofs induce strategies. Such a semantics is introduced here for capturing dependencies induced by quantifications in first-order propositional logic. One of the main difficulties that has to be faced during the elaboration of this kind of semantics is to characterise definable strategies, that is, strategies that actually behave like a proof. This is usually done by restricting the model to strategies satisfying subtle combinatorial conditions, whose preservation under composition is often difficult to show. In this paper we present an original methodology to achieve this task, which requires a combination of advanced tools from game semantics, rewriting theory and categorical algebra. We introduce a diagrammatic presentation of the monoidal category of definable strategies of our model using generators and relations: these strategies can be generated from a finite set of atomic strategies, and the equality between strategies admits a finite axiomatisation, and this equational structure corresponds to a polarised variation of the bialgebra notion. The work described in this paper thus forms a bridge between algebra and denotational semantics in order to reveal the structure of dependencies induced by first-order quantifiers, and lays the foundations for a mechanised analysis of causality in programming languages.



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