A functional (Monadic) second-order theory of infinite trees

Anupam Das, Colin Riba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a complete axiomatization of Monadic Second-Order Logic (MSO) over infinite trees. MSO on infinite trees is a rich system, and its decidability (“Rabin’s Tree Theorem”) is one of the most powerful known results concerning the decidability of logics. By a complete axiomatization we mean a complete deduction system with a polynomial-time recognizable set of axioms. By naive enumeration of formal derivations, this formally gives a proof of Rabin’s Tree Theorem. The deduction system consists of the usual rules for second-order logic seen as two-sorted first-order logic, together with the natural adaptation to infinite trees of the axioms of MSO on ω-words. In addition, it contains an axiom scheme expressing the (positional) determinacy of certain parity games. The main difficulty resides in the limited expressive power of the language of MSO. We actually devise an extension of MSO, called Functional (Monadic) Second-Order Logic (FSO), which allows us to uniformly manipulate (hereditarily) finite sets and corresponding labeled trees, and whose language allows for higher abstraction than that of MSO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6:1-6:83
JournalLogical Methods in Computer Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© A. Das and C. Riba.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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