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The First-Order Theory of Sets with Cardinality Constraints is Decidable

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We show that the decidability of the first-order theory of the language that combines Boolean algebras of sets of uninterpreted elements with Presburger arithmetic operations. We thereby disprove a recent conjecture that this theory is undecidable. Our language allows relating the cardinalities of sets to the values of integer variables, and can distinguish finite and infinite sets. We use quantifier elimination to show the decidability and obtain an elementary upper bound on the complexity. Precise program analyses can use our decidability result to verify representation invariants of data structures that use an integer field to represent the number of stored elements.


Viktor Kuncak and Martin Rinard. The first-order theory of sets with cardinality constraints is decidable. Technical Report 958, MIT CSAIL, July 2004. Superseded by [51].

BibTex Entry

  author = {Viktor Kuncak and Martin Rinard},
  title = {The First-Order Theory of Sets with Cardinality Constraints is Decidable},
  institution = {MIT CSAIL},
  year = 2004,
  number = 958,
  month = {July},
  url = {},
  note = {Superseded by 
  localurl = {}

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