Synthesizing Geometry Constructions

PLDI'11, June 4-8, 2011, San Jose, California, USA |

Published by Microsoft Research

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We show how to model the problem of automating geometry constructions as a program synthesis problem. We then describe a new program synthesis technique based on three key insights: (i) reduction of symbolic reasoning to concrete reasoning (based on a deep theoretical result), (ii) working with an extended instruction set (representing basic constructions found in textbook chapters, inspired by how humans use their experience and knowledge gained from chapters to perform complicated constructions), and (iii) pruning the forward exhaustive search using a goal-directed heuristic (simulating backward reasoning performed by humans).

Our tool can successfully synthesize constructions for various geometry problems picked up from high-school textbooks and examination papers in a reasonable amount of time. This opens up an amazing set of possibilities in the context of making classroom teaching interactive.