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On the Computational Consequences of Independence in Propositional Logic

Author(s): Merlijn Sevenster

Source: Synthese, Vol. 149, No. 2, Knowledge, Rationality & Action (Mar., 2006), pp. 257-
Published by: Springer
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ABSTRACT. Sandu and Pietarinen [Partiality and Games: Propositional Logic.

Logic J. IGPL 9 (2001) 101] study independence friendly propositional logics. That
is, traditional propositional logic extended by means of syntax that allow con
nectives to be independent of each other, although the one may be subordinate
to the other. Sandu and Pietarinen observe that the IF propositional logics have
exotic properties, like functional completeness for three-valued functions. In this
paper we focus on one of their IF propositional logics and study its properties,
by means of notions from computational complexity. This approach enables us to
compare propositional logic before and after the IF make-over. We observe that
all but one of the best-known decision problems experience a complexity jump,
provided that the complexity classes at hand are not equal. Our results concern
every discipline that incorporates some notion of independence such as computer
science, natural language semantics, and game theory. A corollary of one of our
theorems illustrates this claim with respect to the latter discipline.


The programme of quantifier independence, as founded by Henkin

(1961) and later Hintikka (1996), is concerned with abstracting away
from the Fregean assumption that the syntactical scope and binding
of quantifiers in first-order logic (FOL) need to coincide. There is no
doubt the program interacts with many fields of research, including
mathematical logic, natural language semantics, computer science,
philosophy, and game theory. Common ground of these disciplines
in the study of quantifier independence is independence friendly first
order logic. The syntax of independence friendly first-order logic (IF
logic) extends FOL, in the sense that if Vjq?tyi... Vxn3yn R(x, y) is a
FOL formula1 over the predicate R, then

(1) Vxl(3yl/Yi)...Vxn(3yn/Yn) ?(x,y)

is an IF formula, where Y? c.{x\,... 9x?}. Here and henceforth, a
bold faced variable will denote the series of alike variables; i.e.,

Synthese (2006) 149: 257-283 ? Springer 2006

Knowledge, Rationality & Action 3-29
DOI 10.1007/sl 1229-005-3878-5

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x = x\,... ,xn and y = y\,... ,yn. The syntax of IF logic allows for
independence, in that the variable y? is meant to be independent of
the variables in Yi9 although it appears under their syntactical scope.
Hintikka and Sandu (1997) propose game theory as verification
al framework for IF logic. That is, with every IF formula and suit
able model they associate a semantical evaluation game. These game
typically have the eye-catching property of being of imperfect infor
mation. Truth of an IF formula is defined in terms of a strategy that
wins the evaluation game, despite the imperfect information. From a
mathematical perspective, this notion of (uniform) winning strategy
resembles witnessing Skolem functions. In this paper we will mainly
ignore the game theoretical content, fascinating as it may be, and
adopt the mathematical terminology.
That is, evaluation of an IF formula <t> takes place relative to a
model (D, /), consisting of a domain and an interpretation func
tion. Let O be as in (1), then it is true on (D, /) iff
(D,I*)\=3fl...3fnVxi...Vxn l?(x,f),
where f?: DZi -> D and Zi = {x\,... , x?}\Yi. The functions f\,... , fn
are called Skolem functions and are given their interpretation by the
function /*, that extends /. I.e., / and /* assign every first-order
variable the same object, and /* also assigns functions to f\, ... , fn.
IF logic may be the common ground, with different disciplines
come variations on this theme, though. In natural language seman
tics, for instance, after a lively debate Barwise's (1979) account was
generally accepted, that held that some natural language sentences
had best be analyzed by means of branching quantifiers. In computer
science, Bradfield and Fr?schle (2002) introduced an independence
friendly modal logic to capture concurrency. In game theory, van
Benthem (2000) mentions that IF logic may be used as a calculus
for games of imperfect information. For the study of many-valued
logics, Sandu and Pietarinen (2001, 2003) introduce an IF proposi
tional logic. They show that adding an independence friendly con
nective, transjunction, to propositional logic yields a logic that is
functionally complete for three-valued functions.
In the present paper we concern ourselves with another IF prop
ositional logic, as introduced in Sandu and Pietarinen (2001). For a
change, our aim will not be to show that the IF variant is richer in a
revolutionary way - as in describing natural language sentences with
branching quantifiers or capturing three-valued logics - but rather
to reinvestigate the old notions. In particular, we will compare the


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computational behavior of canonical problems from propositional

logic, before and after the independence friendly make-over. As we
will see, many notions from propositional logic have natural pen
dants in IF propositional logic, and as such as are perfectly open
to computational investigation. Here and henceforth, by "propo
sitional logic" we will mean propositional logic in the traditional
sense, with its boolean connectives and truth tables. Its formulae will
be denoted by the Greek symbols k, X.
For instance, consider the problem of deciding satisfiability for a for
mula 0 of IF propositional logic as opposed to propositional logic. For
a formula k of the latter language, one needs to compute whether there
exists an interpretation that makes k true. As to 0, one first has to be
sure what exactly is reasonable a notion of satisfiability in IF proposi
tional logic. Roughly, we will say that </> is satisfiable, if there exists an
interpretation and there exist Skolem functions that make </> true.2 Note
the added clause here, that has its computational effect.
We will see that many of the decision problems considered in this
paper experience an increase of complexity when adding indepen
dence friendliness.
We think that this study is representative for the grand study of
quantifier independence, as we translate established notions to the
IF framework and paint a detailed picture of its consequences. We
are convinced that complexity theory3 offers the suitable tools to
this means, for two reasons. Firstly, the connection between logic
and complexity theory has proven to be very intimate, time after
time, cf. Papadimitriou (1994). Secondly, complexity theory appears
to be applicable in the many fields of research studying algorithms
and computability. As such, in the many disciplines where quantifier
independence plays a r?le lessons can be drawn from our studies. As
to game theory, for instance, we recall that IF formulae give rise to
games of imperfect information and so do IF propositional formu
lae. Therefore, any of our results concerning IF propositional logic
can be interpreted as applying to imperfect information games, cf.
van Emde Boas (2003). See also Corollary 5 of the present paper in
comparison to Koller and Megiddo (1992).
In Section 2, we link IF logic to Henkin quantifiers, and recall
Blass and Gurevich's study on the descriptive power of Henkin
quantifiers. Furthermore, we will give an account of the prob
lem QBF and its IF counterpart, IFQBF. We will see that QBF
and IFQBF forms a nice case of increasing complexity, unless


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In Section 3, we will introduce syntax and semantics of Sandu

and Pietarinen's (1997) IF propositional logic, dubbed ?tf. Along
side the syntax we define the notion of extensive encoding for ?tf
We show that model checking ?iF is complete for NP.
In Section 4, we will discuss what makes ?if propositional by
translating the "information unfriendly" sub-language of ?if into
propositional logic. Also, we introduce a notion of conjunctive nor
mal form for ?if
In Section 5, we will consider the complexity of satisfiability and
validity checking. Surprisingly, it turns out that model checking and
satisfiability for ?if are equally hard. Furthermore, we will show
that two polynomial time solvable fragments of propositional logic
have NP-complete IF counterparts. We conclude with a fragment
that experiences no jump in complexity, but we argue by means of
a simple rewriting argument that the IFed fragment is not so inde
pendence friendly anyway.
In Section 6, we will reflect on the fact that satisfiability is NP
complete for both propositional logic and ?if. Intuitively, the latter
is harder. We will justify our intuitions by studying a promise-vari
ant that discriminates the problems, complexitywise.
In Section 7, we will summarize our results and draw some con
clusions on IFing propositional logic and any logic in general.


In this section, we put IF logic in historical perspective by introducing

Henkin quantifiers. We will briefly recall Blass and Gurevich's result
on the relation between the expressive power of Henkin quantifi
ers and NP-complete problems. Secondly, we will treat the problems
QBF and its IF counterpart, IFQBF, to get a hang of the compara
tive results we are after.

2.1. Henkin Quantifiers

Henkin (1961) introduced the notion of a partially ordered quanti
fier, later to be called a Henkin quantifier. Typically, Henkin quan
tified formulae have a quantifier-free first-order formula O and are
of the form


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(Vxu ... Vxi,h 3y\\

':'-.': . \ *(x,y).
VxVti ... Vxv,h 3yvJ
Truth of such formulae on a suitable4 model (D, I*) is determined
by the existence of witnessing Skolem functions g\,... ,gv = g9 such

(D, /*) f= V*u ... Vxhh ... V*?fi... V^,? 0(x, g),

where gt: DZi ? D and Z? = {x;j,... , x/^}.

The expressive power of FOL prefixed by Henkin quantifiers
equals the expressive power of existential second-order logic, as was
proven by Walkoe (1970). This result can be transferred to IF logic,
as Henkin quantifiers can be translated to IF formulae and vice
versa, see Hintikka (1996). For instance, the formula in (2) can be

Vjcu ... V*i,? ... V^fi. ..VxVth&yi/Yi)... (3yv/Yv) <D(x, y),

where Y? contains all universally quantified variables except the ones

in {*/,i,... ,*,-,/!}.
The computational properties of Henkin quantifiers have been
studied by Blass and Gurevich (1986), by relating Walkoe's result
above and Fagin's (1974) celebrated theorem. The latter theorem
states that the class of decision problems that are solvable in NP
coincides with the class of second-order existential formulae.
As an illustration Blass and Gurevich show that a graph G is
3-colorable iff

for some suitable first-order formula <I>3_coi and the model MG cap
turing G. The authors proceed by investigating the computational
consequences of putting restrictions on the variables in the Henkin
quantifiers. Since the variables y\, y2 are supposed to be assigned
one of the three colors it comes as no surprise, that also

<3) MGn(^|) <I>3.col(x,t),

captures 3-colorability, where t\,ti are variables that may only be
assigned three objects. Next, Blass and Gurevich consider restricted


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quantifiers over what we call indices, that is, variables that range
over a binary domain: I and r. If 3 (or V) quantifies an index /,
rather than a standard variable, we write V (or /\) instead, and say
that / is disjunctively (or conjunctively) quantified. Using this nota
tion, Henkin quantifiers of the form

(Vxi V*i\
cannot express NP-properties, unless coNL = NP.5

2.2. IFing QBF

Peterson et al. (2001) give an example of a computational blow
up due to adding quantifier independence (or imperfect information
in their approach). The authors studied the IF variant of QBF,
which we will call IFQBF.6 They showed that IFQBF is complete
for NEXPTIME, whereas QBF is PSPACE-complete. QBF is the
problem of deciding whether

{false, true] \=Vx\3y\.. .Vxn3yn k(x, y),

for a propositional formula k. QBF can be considered a model

checking problem, that questions whether for every truth value for
x\9 there exists a truth value for y\9 such that for every truth value
for X2,... , k is true. As an example, consider <i> = Vx3y (x +> y). It
is the case that O e QBF, because for x = false truth of (x <* y) is
obtained by y = false; likewise for x = true.
IFQBF generalizes QBF, for it has instances of the form

where Y? are subsets of {x\,... ,x?}.
To appreciate the difference between QBF and IFQBF con
sider the computation tree of QBF instances. In the case of O =
Vx3y (x**y), we find its depiction in Figure 1. In a computation
tree, every node corresponds to a (partial) assignment. In partic
ular, the leafs are complete assignments. We label them true, if
the corresponding complete assignment satisfies the propositional
k; otherwise, we label them false. The labels of the leafs can be
propagated all the way up the tree to the initial node, by means
of a backwards induction algorithm, well-known from game the
ory, cf. Osborne and Rubinstein (1994) and van Benthem (2000).


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\/x3y (x ^+ y)

label: true label: false label: false label: true

Figure 1. The computation tree of <P = Vx3y (x??y). The truth values along
the arrows make up the partial assignments. As such, each leaf corresponds to
a complete truth assignment t and can thus be attached the label true iff t(x) =
t(y). Obviously, the initial node gets label true, as the Skolem function f(true) =
true and f (false) = false is a witness.

Vx(3y/{x}) (x <r+ y)

label: true label: false label: false label: true

Figure 2. The computation tree of W =Vx(3y/{x}) (x ?* y). The dotted line
reflects that y is independent of the assignment to x. The space of Skolem func
tions is limited to the constant functions / and /', such that / = true and
f = false. Checking both yields that ^^IFQBF, since neither of points to a leaf
labelled true, regardless of truth value is assigned to x.

It is folklore that $ e QBF iff the initial node of <t>'s computa

tion tree is labelled true. Calculating the label of the initial node
of a tree can be done in polynomial space with respect to the tree's
depth, since the algorithm needs only keep track of one node at a
time. For details consult Papadimitriou (1994). It follows directly
that if O g QBF, there exist witnessing Skolem functions. However,
the backwards induction algorithm does compute these functions
The proof of IFQBF's NEXPTIME-completeness shows that
such explicit mention of Skolem functions is mandatory to deciding
IFQBF. Such functions are in the worst case of size exponential in
the depth of the computation tree. For a depiction of the computa
tion tree of IFQBF instance ^ =Vx(3y/{x}) (x<+y) see Figure 2.
To check membership for IFQBF, Peterson et al. (2001) show that
there is no way to avoid non-deterministically guessing entire Sko
lem functions, unless PSPACE = NEXPTIME.


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Sandu and Pietarinen (2001) define a language with independent con

nectives, ??f, treating connectives as restricted quantifiers. Strictly
speaking, ?if is a sub-language of IF logic and not propositional.
We will explore its propositional aspect in Section 4.
Let a signature a be a countable set of nullary predicate symbols.
Most of the time we will not mention the signature of a logic and
simply write ?if instead of ?if(o0.

DEFINITION 1 (Syntax ? and ?tF). Define ?(a) as the smallest

set containing all strings of the form

*i/i ... *?/? P(i),

where / g {V> A} and ^ is a function mapping {I, r}1 onto the set
(<2,-"<2 I Q^v)- So negations only appear directly in front of a
predicate. P will be called a predicate pointer. ?\y(o) is obtained
from ?(ct), by applying the following procedure a finite number
of times to any 0 g ?(<?):
If \? js occurs in <j> and Js ? {iu ... , is}9 replace it by (\J js/Js).

? and ?if are not defined recursively. We like to point out that a
recursive version is easily provided for ?. As to ?if, and IF lan
guages in general, one might wonder what is the value of a recur
sively defined IF language, as its semantics (given below) is not
recursive. This question touches on the discussion whether or not it
is possible to give a (natural) compositional semantics for IF logic, a
discussion we are happy to avoid in this writing. We refer the inter
ested reader to Hodges (2001) and Sandu and Hintikka (2001).
We will not set out the usual game theoretical apparatus to define
the semantics for ?tf- Instead, we stick to defining truth in terms
of Skolem functions. In order to do so, we introduce the Skolemi
zation of a formula 0 g ?if; (</>)Skolem is obtained by applying the
following sequence of steps to every disjunctive quantifier in (p:

- remove (VisM)
- put 3fs in front
- replace js in 0's predicate pointer with fs(is), where is is the string
of conjunctively quantified variables containing it iff js occurs in
the syntactical scope of it and it g Js.


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Note that the order in which these steps are applied is immaterial,
due to the semantics that will follow in due course.
For the sake of illustration, observe that (/\i\/ j P(i, 7))Skolem =
3f /\i P(i, /(/)). Here, j is dependent on i. This is not the case in
(f\i(\/ j/{i}) P(i, y))Skolem = 3f/\i P(i, f). Recall that formulae in
?if are evaluated with respect to {l,r}. So in the latter formula /
is a constant function, either assigning ? or r. As such, / functions
to the effect of an index, hence the formula can equivalently be put
asViA? P(iJ)
DEFINITION 2 (Semantics ? and ?IF). Consider ?iF(cr) and a
suitable interpretation function /. Then, for every 0g?if(oO

({ ,r},/)|=0 iff ({?,r},/*)h(0)Sko,em.

Only truth is defined, not falsity. In propositional logic, not being

true and being false coincide. This is not the case for IF logic nor is
it for ?ip. We will ignore this intriguing property, referring the inter
ested reader to Hintikka and Sandu (1997) and Dechesne (2005).
In this paper, we concern ourselves with the computational
properties of ?if. The computing devices under consideration are
Turing-machines, requiring a specification of the encoding of ?if's
formulae. The canonical encoding is the so-called extensive encoding.
For a formula (/> = Q P(i\9... 9in) of ?tf to be encoded extensively
means being written on the tape of a Turing machine as follows:

>Que...JtL\P(?9... ,i)U...Ur ...ruP{r, ... ,r)<,

where Q is roughly </>'s quantifier prefix as it stands, u is a special

separation symbol, and >, <\ are the designated start and end sym
bols. It is noteworthy that the size of the encoding of Q requires
?(n2lgn) cells; one cell for a quantifier's type, and at most n\gn
cells for the indices it is independent of. It is easy to see that the
encoding of the predicate pointer takes (D(n2n) cells; so this takes
an exponential amount of space more than the extensive encoding
of the quantifier prefix.
Armed with Definitions 1 and 2 and the coding convention,
we encounter the first computational problem on our way: model
checking. Given a suitable interpretation function / and a formula
(p g ?if, is it the case that ({?, r}, /) [=0? The remainder of this sec
tion will be dedicated to proving the following theorem.


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THEOREM 3. Model checking ?iF is NP-complete.

It is a classical result that model checking propositional logic is

complete for P. Finding that a problem is in P is considered a posi
tive event, since P is usually taken to be the class of tractable prob
lems, cf. Garey and Johnson (1979) and Papadimitriou (1994).
Before we get to the proof of Theorem 3, there is one definition
on our way. For 0 g ?tF, let (0)Skoiem = 3/!.. .3/? A*i - A in P(l f )
We define the set Pf to be equivalent to

(J P(c,f).

Intuitively, Pf is the set of all (possibly negated) predicates that the

predicate pointer P can assign, when the disjunctively quantified
indices are assigned objects according to f. From a game theoret
ical perspective Pf is a power set, cf. van Benthem (2000), and we
will address it like that. The notion of a power set happens to be
very useful.

LEMMA 4. ({?, r}, /*) \= 3/i... 3fn /\ ix... f\ in P(i, f) iff for some
witness g = gi,... , gn of the variables f\, ... , fn9 it is the case that
for every QePg,I(Q)=true; and for every ->QePg9 I(Q)=false.

We leave it to the reader to convince herself that this is correct.

Proof of Theorem 3.
Membership. Consider 0 g ?if and a suitable interpretation function
/. It is convenient and harmless to assume that 0 be of the follow
ing form

/\il(y Jl/Jl).../\in(\J Jn/Jn) P(U).

By Definition 2, ({?, r}, /) \=(p iff ({?, r}, /*) |= (0)Skolem. By Lemma
4, the latter is equivalent to there existing a witness g = g\,... ,gn
such that / renders all the elements in the power set Pg true. Every
Skolem function gs has at most n arguments, which implies that
writing down gs takes about 0(n2n) cells. This may be exponen
tial in the number of 0's indices, it is still of the same order as
the length of the extensive encoding of 0. Hence, g\,... , gn can be
guessed non-deterministically in a polynomial number of steps in


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|0|.7 Thereafter compute the power set Pg by simply considering all

strings in {I, r}[ and collecting the P(i, g)s. This can be done in time
polynomial in ?{n2n). Finally, verify whether all elements of Pg are
true under /, which can also be done in polynomial time.
Hardness. We reduce from 3-colorability. Let G = (V, E) be an
undirected graph. Without loss of generality assume that lg \V\ is an
integer n, where lgjc=2logjc. We saw in Section 2.1 that Blass and
Gurevich proved that G is 3-colorable iff

<4> m^(vx;I) <I>3-coi(x't)'

where t\9t2 range over the three colors 1,2, 3. This formula can be
translated to IF logic, the way (2) was translated to an IF formula:

(5) V*i3?iV*2(3?2/{*i}) ^3-coi(x,t).

The crucial observation we make is that the x -variables can be simu
lates with n indices each and the ?-variables with two variables each:
x\,X2 range over V = {v\,... , V2?}9 whereas n indices can be seen as
ranging over {?,r}n. That is, associate with every ce{?,r}n a ver
tex in V9 considering any such c as coding an integer rcn. We will
straightforwardly take rcn to be the integer that is c as its binary
encoding plus one, reading ? as 0 and r as 1. So rllO ? 1 and
rrrrn = 8.
We claim that the IF formula (5) can thus be formulated as a for
mula 0 g ?if, that is, as an IF formula with only restricted quanti

/\il\/Jl\J J2/\?2 (\Jh/j) (\Jj4/j) ^3-col(?l,?2, j),

where /\is = /\isX.../\iSjn for s g {1,2} and J = {i\,\,... ,/i,?}. Note
that this formula would allow one to color G with four colors, since
rji,J2~l = 49 if 7i =J2 = r. This possibility will be harmless to our
purposes since 3>3-coi(x, t\, ?2) is false if t\, t2 ? {1, 2, 3}.
The predicate pointer P3_coi mimics <I>3_coi completely, in that

P (\ i r>=? A ? MG\=?2-co\(Vri^,Vrh-i,Vrhj^,VrhJ^)
/-3-COHI1.I2,? |_A if MGfc?3- l(Vrir,Vri2,,VrJ[j2.,Vrhj4n).
We claim that (4) is true iff {{l,r},I) |= 0, where / is such that
1(A) = true. The point is that (4) is true iff there is a coloring F:
V -> {1, 2, 3} iff there are two Skolem functions f\, fi mimicking F
iff the power set P/-,,/2 contains only As and no -"As.


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Remains to be shown that the extensive encoding of 0 can be

obtained from G in polynomial time. This is obviously the case
for 0's quantifierblock. As to its predicate pointer, we recall that
n = lg|V|. Since 0 has 2n + 4 indices, P3-Coi has 22"+4 = 16|G|2
arguments. Per argument CiC2did2 G { ,r}?l'?2jl'i2 get the (possibly
negated) predicate P3-coi(ci,C2,di,d2), by checking whether it is the
case that MG h=4>3_coi(t;rCln, vrC2^, vrd{i, vr?2-}). The latter step resem
bles to model checking a propositional formula and can therefore be
done in P. D

Although we promised not to delve into the game theoretical

details, there is an interesting corollary to Theorem 3. In Hintikka
(1996) and Hintikka and Sandu (1997), truth of an IF formula on
a model is defined as the existential player having a winning strategy
in the semantic game, that is uniform with respect to the non-Fre
gean independencies in the formula.

COROLLARY 5. Computing whether the existential player has a

(Hintikka-Sandu-style) winning strategy in a semantic game of an
?if formula is NP-complete. The same problem is complete for
P, if we restrict ourselves to the semantic games of propositional
formulae. A similar result was obtained in game theory in Koller
and Megiddo (1992) with respect to the class of all two-player
games with imperfect information.


In this section we will explore what makes ?if an independence

friendly propositional logic, by translating ? into propositional
logic. Furthermore, we recall the well-known notion of conjunctive
normal form from propositional logic, and generalize it in order to
apply it to ?if
Since the domain on which ? is evaluated is two-valued, we
can have the object I (r) represent the left (right) sub-formula of
a conjunction or a disjunction. This is the idea behind the nat
ural translation T that maps formulae in ?(<r) to propositional


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(A* <^) =(0WTA0(r)T)

(Vf 0(O)T=(0WTV0(r)T),
where ? g or is a nullary predicate and AQ is a propositional atom.
Truth of a propositional formula is evaluated with respect to a
(suitable) function t that maps all the propositional formula's prop
ositional variables onto the set of truth values, {false, true}. Hence
forth, such a function t will be called a truth assignment and we will
tacitly assume that it is suitable.
We omit the easy proof that shows that for every 0G?(a)

({?,r},/)|=0 iff '/N0T,

where tj is the truth assignment, such that for every Qeo, tj(QT) =

In the sequel, we will treat ?if(oO as a propositional logic and

we will adopt its vocabulary. So, if A g a call A an atom. If L is an
atom or an atom preceded by an arbitrary finite number of nega
tions, call it a literal. We call a literal positive if is has an even num
ber of negations, negative otherwise.
Many results in the literature on the complexity of propositional
logic involve clauses, that is, a disjunction of literals. We say that a
propositional formula k is in conjunctive normal form (CNF), if it is
a conjunction of clauses: k = C\A.. .ACn.
But CNF is a traditional notion, and does not apply to formulae
in ? straight away. In the present paper, we will adhere to the fol
lowing notion. We say that a formula of ? is in CNF iff it is of the
following form:

(6) /\h.../\im\/ji...\/jn P(i,j).

That this definition is a natural candidate can be argued for in two
directions. As to the one direction: the natural translation of a CNF
formula of ?, yields a propositional formula that is in CNF, modulo
some harmless brackets. As to the converse direction: every propo
sitional formula k that is in CNF can be written as a formula of the
form (6).


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Because firstly, mimick the /c's rc-ary conjunction by [lgn~] =k

restricted quantifiers over the indices i = i\,... ,it that are meant to
refer to clause Op. Possibly rP>n9 but we overcome this by pos
tulating that for every such i, the clause Op is just C\.
Secondly, one gets rid of the disjunctions within the different
clauses in roughly the same way. Let Cs be the clause in k with the
greatest number of literals, say m, and let /= \\gm\. It suffices to
introduce / new indices j = ji,... ,ji, that point to the literals. Again
there is the possibility that rjn is greater than the number of literals
in a clause, in which case we let it simply refer to the clause's first
All in all, k = C\ A ... a Cn is transformed to the following ?

(7) f\h...f\h\/ji...\/jl P(i,j),

where P(i,j) is the rjnth literal in the rinth clause of k (keeping
the postulations in mind that we made with regard to rin and rjn
exceeding the number of clauses or literals in a clause, respectively).

Now that we have a notion of CNFness for ?, we can generalize it

to ?if. We say that a formula of ?if is in conjunctive normal form
iff it is of the following form

(8) /\h.../\im(yjl/Jl)...(\/jn/Jn) P(U).

It is a routine exercise to show that every formula of propositional
logic can be rewritten into a CNF equivalent. This result applies
trivially to ? as well. More interestingly, it is also the case for its
independence friendly counterpart, ?if, as we can push the disjunc
tive quantifiers all the way to the right of the quantifierblock while
keeping track of the conjunctive quantifiers we encounter. We show
this by means of an example. Consider the following formula:

/\h/\h(\/j/{h})/\h p&n>
that is true on a model (D, I) iff (Z), /*) |= 3f Ah Ah Ah P(l
f(?2?). Now, we can push \J j to the right, so that it appears at
the right-hand side of /\?3. We must be careful here, not to make j
dependent of 13. This we prevent by adding i3 to the set {i\}9 yield
ing the ?if formula Ah Ah Ah (V j/{iu h}) P(lj). Again, this
formula is true on (D, I) iff (D, I*)\=3f Ah Ah Ah P(l f(h))


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For future reference, we define the notion of a clause for CNF for
mulae of ?if- In propositional logic a clause is disjunction of liter
als. In ?if, we rather consider clauses as multisets of literals. For let
0 g ?if be in CNF as in (8), then for every c g {I, r}1 let the multiset
Ocn be the rc~1th clause of 0, where

(9) Ocn= (J P(c,d).


Model checking concerns verifying a given formula on a given

model. Yet another business is checking whether a formula is satis
fiable or valid. As to propositional logic, the problems of satisfiabil
ity and validity are well-known in complexity theory. For instance,
CNF-SAT is the problem of deciding whether there exists a truth
assignment t rendering k true, for an arbitrary propositional for
mula k in CNF. Folklore has it that CNF?-SAT is complete for
NP, provided that all of its instances have at most n literals per
clause, for n > 3. Much attention has been with studying fragments
of propositional logic, that yield satisfiability problems with lower
complexity. We recall the satisfiability problem for the Horn frag
ment and CNF2-SAT, that have P-complete and NL-complete com
plexity, respectively.
In Section 5.1, we define the notions of satisfiability and validity
and establish their computational complexity. In Section 5.2 three
fragments of ?if are considered, that are defined analogous to frag
ments of propositional logic.

5.1. Satisfiability and Validity

Naturally, let us say that 0 g ?if is satisfiable iff there exists a
suitable interpretation I, such that ({?, r}, I) f= 0. And likewise
define the notion of validity. Recall that a propositional formula is
valid iff it is true no matter the truth assignment. We extend as
follows: 0g?if is a validity iff for every interpretation function I,
({ ,r},/)h0.
In the following theorems we pinpoint the complexity of comput
ing whether 0 g ?if is satisfiable and valid, respectively. We argue
that both results are surprising in their own way.


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THEOREM 6. Satisfiability for ?IF is NP-complete.

Membership. Fix a formula 0 g?if- Obviously, the number of atoms
in 0 is smaller than |0|, since it can impossibly exceed the size of the
extensive encoding of 0's predicate pointer. Therefore, one can non
deterministically guess the interpretation function I in polynomial
time. This leaves us with the problem of deciding whether I satisfies
0, i.e., a model checking problem. Theorem 3 shows how to do this
in non-deterministic polynomial time.
Hardness. Since ? is contained in ?if, it suffices to reduce
CNF4-SAT to ?'s satisfiability problem. This is easy, recalling our
discussion on CNF for ? and ?if from the previous section. We
showed, namely, that every instance k of CNF4-SAT has an equiva
lent ? formula 0. 0 can be obtained from k in polynomial time. D

Theorem 6 may not be surprising from a technical point of view,

but it becomes interesting when contrasted to ?if's model checking
complexity. Both the model checking and the satisfiability complex
ity of ?if are NP-complete. The vast majority of logics, however,
have it that the model checking complexity is lower than the com
plexity of deciding satisfiability.9 From the fact that for ?if these
tasks happen to coincide, we learn that the complexity of computing
witnessing Skolem functions is of the same order as the complex
ity of computing a witnessing interpretation. In Section 6, we will
revisit this issue when we abstract away from the cost of guessing
an interpretation.
We conclude this subsection with the validity problem ?if. This
problem is coNP-complete for propositional logic.

THEOREM 7. Validity for ?iF is coNPNP-complete.

Membership. Fix 0g?if. 0 is not a validity iff there exists an inter
pretation / that does not make it true. The latter proposition can
be checked by first non-deterministically guessing an interpretation
/ that will falsify 0, if any. Next do the model checking with respect
to / and 0 doable in NP, due to Theorem 3.
Hardness. We rather give a proofsketch, as the details are lengthy
and tedious. We reduce from the problem QSAT2, that is, given a for


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mu?a O over the propositions x, y, is it the case that {false, true} \= O,


$> = Vxi...Vxn3yx...3yn /c(x,y),

for a propositional formula k. The reduction will reduce O's sub

formula *I>(x) = 3y\.. .3ynK(x, y) to a model checking instance of
?iF. Because checking {false, true} (=*!> resembles to satisfiability for
propositional logic, it is NP-complete just as model checking ?iF
is. Hence, there is a reduction from model checking *I> to model
checking ?IF. Modulo some bookkeeping tricks, the reduced * is
true for every assignment to the variables x iff it is a validity iff
{false, true} (=4>. D

When adding independence to propositional logic the complexity of

the tautology problem increases one level in the polynomial hierar
chy. This is remarkable, since in propositional logic the problems of
satisfiability and validity have complementary complexity. Theorem
7 shows that in ?if that validity is "harder" than the satisfiability,
unless NP = coNPNP.

5.2. Satisfiability for Fragments of ?if

The fact that satisfiability for propositional logic is complete for NP
is considered negative, as it implies that this problem is not tracta
ble. This inconvenience started up the search for fragments that have
tractable complexity. Below we treat three of the best-known frag
ments and study the complexity of their IFed counterparts.

A very useful sub-language of propositional logic, is the Horn

fragment. We say that a CNF formula C\ a ... a Cn is a Horn for
mula, if all the clauses C,- contain at most one positive literal. The
satisfiability problem for the Horn fragment of propositional logic is
complete for P.
The Horn property can naturally be transferred to ?if. Let 0g
?if be in CNF. Then, we say that 0 is Horn, if all of 0's clauses
contain at most one positive literal, taking 'clause' as in (9). Let
HORN-?IF-SAT be the satisfiability problem for the Horn fragment
of ?IF.

THEOREM 8. HORN-?iF-SAT is NP-complete.


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Proof We reduce from CNF3-SAT. Let k = C\ A... ACn be an

instance. If any of its clauses C? contains a positive literal L, replace
it with -iZ/ and conjunctively add (L ^> -,Z/)5 where V is a new
atom. In this manner, if L,M,N are positive literals, then (--L v
MvN) becomes
(-L v -M' V -*N') A (M < > -M') A (N *> -TV').

Applying this procedure to all clauses in k yields the formula X.

Since X contains more atoms than k, it is not the case that k and k
are equivalent in the sense that every t that makes k true also makes
X true. However, what matters is the converse condition: if t satis
fies X it also satisfies k. We call such a pair of formulae satisfiability
? is obviously not Horn itself, and there is no effective way to
make it so, unless P = NP. But that's the case for propositional
logic. We will see that there is an effectively computable formula in
the Horn fragment of ?if that is equivalent to k. To this end let
D\,... , Dk be ?'s clauses, where lg& equals the integer m (without
loss of generality). Consider the formula

4> = /\h.../\im X(i)

As we did before the indices i are used to refer to ?'s clause Drp.
X (i) will be a construct of the following form

and P is defined in such a way that ?rP and x(0 are satisfiability
equivalent.10 If clause Drp is of the form (L *>--//), x(i) be speci
fied as in Figure 3.
It suffices to prove that Drp and x (0 are satisfiability equivalent.
This can be evaluated by checking all of x(0's power sets, due to

Figure 3. Depiction of x(i)> in case ?'s clause Z)rp is of the form (L^>-^L').
A is a new atom not occurring outside /(i).


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Lemma 4. Per string cg {I, r}\ there are four different pairs of Sko
lem functions fo, f\ that determine the values of 73, 74, respectively.
Let f? be the function such that f?(i) ? d9 for d e{l,r} and m e
{3,4}. The power sets read as follows:

PftJt(i) = {-A,^A,L9^L'}
PftJ;(i) = {-A,^A,^L,L}
Pfrj?(i) = {^A,Lr,^L',-^A}
P/?t/?(i) = {L,,-A,-A,-L}.
Obviously, any interpretation that makes all literals in Pftfe(?) and
Pfrjr(i) true also makes Drp true. Furthermore, no interpretation
can satisfy all literals in the other two power sets.
If Drp is of the form Kv--Mv^iV), x(\) works to the effect
of the tree depicted in Figure 4. In this case, it is easy to see that
Drp and x(i) are equivalent, since no new atoms are introduced.
Remains to note that whatever form a clause in ? has, every
clause in the reduced ?tf formula 0 contains at most one positive
literal. Hence, 0 is an instance of HORN-?if-SAT, that is satisfi
ability equivalent to ?.

Another natural restriction on formulae is bounding the maximum

number of appearances per atom. All the results concerning these
restrictions can be found in Kleine B?ning and Lettman (1999).
Let us define the satisfiability problem READ?-SAT, as the stan
dard satisfiability problem with propositional formulae as instances
in which each atom appears at most n times. It turns out that
READ?-SAT is complete for NP, if n > 2. However, the prob
lem READ2-CNF-SAT, that considers instances that are also in
CNF, is decidable in linear time. We will see that the IF vari
ant, READ2-CNF-?if-SAT, is still complete for NP. It is natu
rally defined on instances 0 g ?if, such that 0 is in CNF and if 0's

-nL -^M -.JV -iTV -.L -.M -.N -.AT -.L --M -.JV -.N -.L ^M ^N -^N

Figure 4. Depiction of x (i), in case ?'s clause Drp is of the form (->L v ->M


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predicate pointer assigns literals L,M,N for any three arguments,

then L, M, N are not based on the same atom.

THEOREM 9. READ2-CNF-?iF-SAT is NP-complete.

Proof We reduce from the NP-complete READ3-CNF4-SAT,

that has CNF formulae as instance with four literals per clause
and every atom appearing at most three times. Let k be such an
instance. Assume, without loss of generality, that it contains per
positive literal K dit least one negative literal -*K9 and vice versa.
Otherwise, if K (-*K) appears only positively (negatively), one just
assigns it true (false) and considers /c's clauses that do not contain
K. All in all, k can be supposed to be of the form
(K v L\ v L2 v L3) A (K v Mi v M2 v M3)
a(->K v N\ v N2 v Af3) ak',

where K does not occur in k'. For the new atoms Q\, 02, the

(K v (?i a ?2)) a (-?i v U v L2 v L3) a

(-?02 v Mi v M2 v M3) A (- ?' v N\VN2v N3) A k'

is satisfiability equivalent to k. Note that it contains only two occur

rences of K, Q\, 02 and is a constant larger than k. Applying this
transformation as many times as there are atoms occurring three
times in k yields a satisfiability equivalent formula, call it ? = Ci A
...aCH9 with only two occurrences per atom.11 X has two kinds
of clauses: Either d is of the form

(Kv(QiaQ2)) or (KvLvMvN).
We argue that there exists a CNF formula in ?if in which every
atom appears only twice, that is satisfiability equivalent to X. Our
argumentation proceeds along the lines of the proof of Theorem 8,
as we consider the formula

4> = /\h.../\im X(i).

where lgn = m and x(i) is the construct that mimics the ri~lth clause
in X. If Op is of the form (K v (Q\ a Q2)), the corresponding x~
construct is depicted in Figure 5. In the other case, it is depicted in
Figure 6.


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Figure 5. Depiction of x(i)> m case ^'s clause CrP is of the form (Kv(Q\ a
g2)). A, A! are new atoms, not occurring outside xO)- Note that any pair of Sko
lem functions fi, f, where f3(\) = r, cannot be a witness, as it would result in a
power set containing both A and ->A or A' and ->A'.


Figure 6. Depiction of x(0, in case ?'s clause Crp is of the form (K v Lv M v

N). A, A'', A"', A!" are new atoms, not occurring outside x(i).

For every clause Crp in ? the corresponding x(i)-construct

introduces at most two copies of A, A!, A", A"''. Since X contains at
most two occurrences of any atom, so does 0. Hence, CNF4-SAT
can be reduced to READ2-CNF-??F-SAT. D
Finally, we consider the IF variant of CNF?-SAT, where n = 2. This
problem is NL-complete. The IF counterpart is defined as follows:
Let 0 g ?if be in CNF. Then, 0 is an instance of CNF2-?if-SAT,
if all of 0's clauses (being multisets!) contain exactly two literals.
The latter can only be the case, of course, if 0's quantifierblock is
a string of conjunctive quantifiers with one disjunctive quantifier at
the right-hand end.

THEOREM 10. CNF2-?iF-SAT is NL-complete.

Proof It suffices to show that CNF2-SAT there exists a logarith

mic space many one reduction to the problem CNF2-?if-SAT (i),
and vice versa (ii).
As to (i). Fix an instance C\ A... ACn of CNF2-SAT. Via the
translation procedure from CNF formulae to ? discussed in Section
4, we get an equivalent formula as in (7), where / = lg 2 = 1. It is trivial
to see that this translation can be performed in logarithmic space.


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As to (ii). We reduce an arbitrary instance 0 of CNF2-?if-SAT

to CNF2-SAT. Let 0 be of the form

/\h-.-f\h(\/j/j) P(U),
where J = {j\,... , jm} ? {ix,... , /?}. We can manipulate the order of
the /\s in 0, without affecting its truth-condition. In essence this is
the same trick, now applied conversely, as transforming every for
mula of ?if into an CNF equivalent. So the formula

l\i\-f\i'kl\h-.-/\jm{\/j/j) Pd',lj),
is equivalent to 0, where i[,... , *? = i' are the indices in the comple
ment of JU{j}. Now, we push the disjunctive quantifier to the left
until we meet /\/? and remove /:

do Ai'?---A?'?V;'A?---A?? win,
being a formula without independencies! The formula (10) is satisfi
able iff there exists an / such that for every cg {I, r}1', there exists a
/(c) G {I, r}9 such that no matter what de {?, r}J we pick, it is always
the case that /(P(c, d, f(c))) = true. We show that whether such /
exists can be cast as an instance k of CNF2-SAT, as follows: Intro
duce two new atoms Ac?9 Acr per ce{l,r}1'. Eventually, if k is satis
fied by an interpretation /, / can be read of from it in the following
t if I(Aci) = true
/(c) = r if I(Aci) = false and I(Acr) = true
undefined otherwise.

Note that the left-right asymmetry is immaterial. Intuitively, if / sat

isfies k and I (Ae?) = true, then f(c) = l would be a right choice in
the sense that for every de{?,r}], I(P(c,d,t)) = true.
To this end, k contains the clause (-?AC?, v L), for every ce e
{I, r}hj and every literal L e {J?e{? r}j P(c, d, e). To ensure that / sat
isfies at least one of each pair Ac? and Acr - i.e., that / be complete
- let k also contain the clause (Ac^vAcr).
For instance, consider A *'(V .//{*'}) P(hj), then the satisfiabili
ty equivalent instance of CNF2-?if-SAT reads as (->A? v P(t, I)) a
(-A, V P(r, I)) A (-Ar V P(i, r)) A (-Ar V P(r, r)) A (At V Ar).
k is thus a conjunction of clauses, each containing only two liter
als. Since CNF2-SAT can be decided in NL, so can CNF2-?if-SAT,


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as the reduction from 0 to k can be performed in logarithmic space.

The main point in seeing this, is that at any stage of getting from 0
to k, one only needs to keep track of the string c g {I, r}\ that can
be done in O(lg|0|).


We showed in Theorem 6 that satisfiability for ?if is complete for

NP. In the light of all the complexity jumps in the previous section,
it is interesting to note that no jump occurs when IFing propositional
logic, since satisfiability for propositional logic is also NP-complete.
Intuitively, however, it remains the case that satisfiability for ?TF is
harder, since it consists of two NP-complete problems; finding a sat
isfying interpretation and model checking.
We justify this intuition by softening the computational bur
den of computing a satisfying interpretation in an appropriate way,
thereby isolating the burden of model checking. This example shows
that computational complexity can be used to compare NP-com
plete problems.
Consider the promise n holding that the number of different
atoms in a formula is logarithmically bounded by the size of the
formula. Applied to ?if, this means that there exists a logarithmic
function /, such that for every extensively encoded 0g?if, the num
ber of different atoms referred to by 0's predicate pointer is smaller
than /(|0|). Let SAT^ be propositional logic's satisfiability problem
under the promise n and let ?if-SAT^ be the same problem for ?tF.
In Theorem 11 and 12 we will see that n discriminates SAT^
from its IFed counterpart, unless P = NP.

THEOREM 11. SAT^ is P-complete.

Membership. Fix a formula k of propositional logic. Due to n, the
number of atoms in k is less than 1(\k\). Now, collect these atoms
and do the model checking with respect to every different interpre
tation that can be defined over them. There are less than 2/(|/c|) =
?(\k\c) different interpretations for some constant c, hence, this
computation can be performed in a polynomial number of steps
with respect to \k\.


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Hardness. Satisfiability requires model checking, and model check

ing for propositional logic is P-complete. D

THEOREM 12. ?if-SAT* is NP-complete.

Membership. Follows directly from the membership-part of the proof
of Theorem 6.
Hardness. Satisfiability requires model checking. The hardness
part of the proof of Theorem 3 can be copied here, as it introduces
only one atom. D


We summarize our results below. Note that all problems are pin
pointed up to completeness, where appropriate.

Prop, logic ?if

Model checking P NP
Validity coNP coNPNP
Satisfiability NP NP
Sat. under n P NP
Sat. for Horn fragment P NP
Sat. for READ2HCNF fragment linear time NP
Sat. for CNF2 fragment NL NL.
In this paper we concerned ourselves with the comp
properties of ??f that was introduced as an independence
propositional logic. Its founders, Sandu and Pietarinen, wer
interested in the exotic properties ?if enjoys. Our investiga
that, by and large, these properties come at the cost of
There is no canonical way to get the IF pendant of a logi
cal language. In our opinion, though, ?tf would make a good
candidate for the propositional elections. Therefore, we think we
are justified to make some general remarks about the IF pro
gramme, inspired by our propositional considerations. The scien
tific programme of quantifier independence adds another dimension
to quantification. The consequences of this enterprize are twofold:
one enjoys the increased power, yet one loses a great deal of nice


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meta-mathematical properties. For instance, IF logic has the expres

sive power of second order existential logic, but is not axiomitizable
anymore as opposed to FOL, cf. Hintikka (1996).
From this paper we learn that the property of tractability is not
regained when we restrict ourselves to fragments of the logical lan
guage. We are convinced that similar results can be obtained in
other disciplines that study quantifier independence.
These considerations give rise to the question whether there are
intermediate stages of quantifier independence, that would allow one
to introduce a meaningful, yet restrained, notion of independence,
whilst keeping desirable properties. Inspiration may come from fur
ther contemplations on quantifier independence in logic, but also
from imperfect information in game theory, concurrency from com
puter science, or any other discipline interacting with the IF pro


I thank Peter van Emde Boas for his continuing support, guiding
remarks and insights. I thank the anonymous referees and Francien
Dechesne for their comments, that improved the paper considerably.
I thank the organizers of the Knowledge and Games workshop,
for hosting my virtual presentation. I thank Victor de Boer for edit
ing my video presentation.


1 In fact, it is a closed formula or sentence, as it has no free variables. In this

paper we will not treat open formulae, and only consider closed ones. For an
analysis of open IF formulae, refer to Dechesne (2005).
2 What it means for an interpretation function and Skolem functions to make a
formula true will become clear in due course. For now, we only wish to give an
intuitive account.
3 In this paper we will deal with a limited number of complexity classes, that are
ordered as follows:

NLcpc ^ ccoNPNP
- - coNP ~

For definitions, examples, and complete problems, refer to Papadimitriou (1994

Note that none of the inclusions is known to be strict. In practice, the differenc
can be dramatic, though. Completeness is measured with respect to polynomial
time many one reductions, unless indicated otherwise.


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4 "Suitable" in that /* is to interpret all variables, constants, and function sym

bols in the formula at hand. Recall our remark in Section 1 about the difference
between / and /*.
5 Later it was proven that NL = coNL.
6 In Peterson et al. (2001), the problem is called dependency quantified boolean
formula, DQBF.
7 For every formula ^r, \ty\ denotes the length of the extensive encoding of \?r.
If X is a set, |X| denotes X's cardinality.
8 For the sake of readability, we pretend that ? was defined recursively.
9 The reader may think of the following logics:

Model checking Satisfiability

Propositional logic P-complete NP-complete
Basic modal logic P-complete PSPACE-complete
First-order logic PSPACE-complete undecidable.

10 The language ??F is not defined recursively, so in ??F no such thing as a

sub-formula exists. However, since x is only preceded by conjunctive quantifiers
and in x no disjunctively quantified index is slashed over an index in {?i,... ,/?}
we can harmlessly regard x(i) itself as a formula in ?IF. As such, we will talk
about its satisfiability.
11 Note that ? is not in CNF and cannot effectively be cast in such a form,
unless READ2-CNF-SAT = READ2-SAT. The latter is unlikely, as it would imply
that P = NP


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Universiteit van Amsterdam


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