The CADE ATP System Competition

Design and Organization

This document contains information about the:

The rules, deadlines, and specifications given here, are absolute. Only the competition panel has the right to make exceptions.


Every effort has been made to organize the competition in a fair and constructive manner. No responsibility is taken if, for one reason or the other, your system does not win.

The design and procedures of CASC-JC evolved from those of previous CASCs. Important changes for CASC-JC are:

These changes have been carefully considered.


CASC-JC is divided into divisions according to problem and system characteristics. There are five competition divisions in which the systems are explicitly ranked, and one demonstration division in which systems can demonstrate their abilities without being formally ranked. Entry into the competition divisions is subject to the following rules:

Competition Divisions

The Problems section explains what problems are eligible for use in each division and category.

Demonstration Division

ATP systems that cannot run on the general hardware, or cannot be entered into the competition divisions for any other reason, can be entered into the Demonstration division. Demonstration division systems can run on the general hardware, or the hardware can be supplied by the entrant. The entry specifies which competition divisions' problems are to be used. The results are presented along with the competition divisions' results, but may not be comparable with those results.


Hardware and Software

For CASC-JC, the general hardware is 28 SUN UltraSparc IIi computers, each having:


Problem Selection
The problems are taken from the TPTP Problem Library. For CASC-JC, the TPTP version is v2.4.0. The TPTP version used for the competition is not released until after the system installation deadline, so that some problems have not been previously seen by the entrants.

The problems have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for selection:

The problems used are randomly selected from the eligible problems at the start of the competition, based on a seed supplied by the competition panel. The selection has constraints:

Number of Problems
The minimal numbers of problems that have to be used in each division and category, to ensure sufficient confidence in the competition results, are determined from the numbers of eligible problems in each division and category (the competition organizers have to ensure that there is sufficient CPU time available to run the ATP systems on this minimal number of problems). The minimal numbers of problems is used in determining the CPU time limit imposed on each solution attempt.

A lower bound on the total number of problems that is used is determined from the number of workstations available, the time allocated to the competition, the number of ATP systems to be run on the general hardware over all the divisions, and the CPU time limit, according to the following relationship:

                     Number of workstations * Time allocated
Number of problems = ---------------------------------------
                      Number of ATP systems * CPU time limit
It is a lower bound on the total number of problems because it assumes that every system uses all of the CPU time limit for each problem. Since some solution attempts succeed before the CPU time limit is reached, more problems can actually be used. The actual numbers used in each division and category is determined according to the judgement of the competition organizers.

Problem Preparation
It is necessary to ensure that no system receives an advantage or disadvantage due to the specific presentation of the problems in the TPTP. To this end the tptp2X utility, distributed with the TPTP, is used to:

Further, to prevent systems from recognizing problems from their file names, symbolic links are made to the selected problems, using names of the form CCCNNN-1.p for the symbolic links, with NNN running from 001 to the number of problems in the respective division or category. The problems are specified to the ATP systems using the symbolic link names.

In the Demonstration division the same problems are used as for the competition divisions, with the same tptp2X transformations applied. However, the original file names are retained.

Time Limits and Timing

In the competition divisions, CPU and wall clock time limits are imposed on each solution attempt. A minimal CPU time limit of 180 seconds is used. The maximal CPU time limit is determined using the relationship used for determining the number of problems, with the minimal number of problems as the "Number of problems". The CPU time limit is chosen as a reasonable value within the range allowed. The wall clock time limit is imposed in addition to the CPU time limit, to prevent very high memory usage that causes swapping. The wall clock time limit is double the CPU time limit.

The timing is done by the UNIX /bin/time command, which returns times in units of 0.1 second. If an ATP system cannot solve a problem, the runtime is set to the CPU time limit.

In the Demonstration division, each entrant can choose to use either a CPU or a wall clock time limit, whose value is the CPU time limit of the competition divisions.

System Execution

Execution of the ATP systems on the general hardware is controlled by a perl script, provided by the competition organizers. The jobs are be queued onto the workstations so that each workstation is running one job at a time. All attempts at the Nth problems in all the divisions and categories are be started before any attempts at the (N+1)th problems.

During the competition a perl script parses the systems' outputs. If an ATP system's success string is found then the timing information from the /bin/time command is extracted. The CPU time taken, or the CPU time limit if no solution was found, is recorded. This data is used to generate an HTML file, and a WWW browser is used to display the results.

The execution of the Demonstration division systems is supervised by their entrants.

Performance Evaluation

For each ATP system, for each problem attempted, three items of data are recorded: whether or not a solution was found, the CPU time taken, and whether or not a solution (proof or model) was output. In the MIX division Proof class, the systems are ranked according to the number of problems solved with a proof output. In the MIX division Assurance class and all other divisions, the systems are ranked according to the numbers of problems solved. If there us a tie according to these rankings, then the tied systems are ranked according to their average CPU times over problems solved. If any division is won by the system that won that division in the previous CASC, then no winner is be announced in that division. Otherwise winners are announced in each division (two class winners in the MIX division), and prizes are awarded.

If only one ATP system registers for a particular competition division, no winner can be announced for that division, but the results for the system are still presented.

At some time after the competition, all high ranking systems in each division are tested over the entire TPTP. This testing provides a final check for soundness, and any system found to be unsound is retrospectively disqualified from the Proof class. At some time after the competition, the proofs from the winner of the Proof class are checked by the panel. If any of the proofs are unacceptable, i.e., they are significantly worse than the samples provided, then that system is retrospectively disqualified from the Proof class.

Entry Requirements and Procedures

To be entered into CASC, systems have to be registered using the CASC system registration form. No registrations are accepted after the registration deadline. For each system entered, a person has to be nominated to handle all issues (including execution difficulties) arising before and during the competition. The nominated entrant must formally register for CASC. However, it is not necessary for entrants to physically attend the competition.

Entering many similar versions of the same system is deprecated. Entrants may be required to limit the number of system versions that they enter. The division winners from the previous CASC are automatically be entered into their divisions, to provide benchmarks against which progress can be judged. After the competition all systems' source code is made publically available on the CASC WWW site.

The precomputation and storage of any information for individual TPTP problems for usage during the competition is contrary to the spirit of the competition, and is not allowed. The precomputation and storage of information that is reasonably likely to be useful in some future application is permitted. For every problem solved, the system's solution process has to be reproducible by running the system again. With the exception of the MIX division Proof class, the ATP systems are not required to output solutions (proofs or models). However, systems that do output solutions to stdout are highlighted in the presentation of results.

It is assumed that each entrant has read all the WWW pages related to the competition, and has complied with the competition rules. Non-compliance with the rules could lead to disqualification. A "catch-all" rule is used to deal with any unforseen circumstances: No cheating is allowed. The panel is allowed to disqualify entrants due to unfairness and to adjust the competition rules in case of misuse.

System Description and Proof Objects

A system description has to be provided for each ATP system entered, using this HTML schema. The system description must fit onto a single A4 page, using 12pt times font. The schema has the following sections: The system description has to be emailed to the competition organizers before the system description deadline. The system descriptions, along with information regarding the competition design and procedures, form the proceedings for the competition.

In the MIX division, the system that outputs the most acceptable proof objects (maximally one per problem solved) to stdout is the winner of the Proof class. Entrants who wish to be eligible for winning the Proof class have to email representative samples of their proofs to the competition organizers before the sample proofs deadline. The competition panel decides whether or not each system's proof objects are acceptable.

System Properties

Entrants have to ensure that their systems execute in the competition environment, according to the checks listed below. Entrants are advised to perform these checks well in advance of the installation period. This gives the competition organizers time to help resolve any difficulties encountered.

The ATP systems have to be executable by a single command line, using an absolute path to the executable that may not be in the current directory. The command line arguments are the absolute path name for a symbolic link as the problem file name, the time limit (if required by the entrant), and entrant specified system switches (the same for all problems). No shell features, such as input or output redirection, may be used in the command line. No assumptions may be made about the format of the problem file name.

The ATP systems that run on the general hardware have to be interruptable by a SIGXCPU signal, so that the CPU time limit can be imposed on each solution attempt, and interruptable by a SIGALRM signal, so that the wall clock time limit can be imposed on each solution attempt. The default action on receiving these signals is to exit (thus complying with the time limit, as required), but systems may catch the signals and exit of their own accord. Both approaches are acceptable for the competition. If a system runs past a time limit this is noticed in the timing data, and the system is considered to have not solved that problem. When terminating of their own accord, the ATP systems have to output a distinguished string (specified by the entrant) to stdout indicating the result, one of: When outputing proofs for MIX division's Proof class, the start and end of the proof must be identified by distinguished strings (specified by the entrant). The CPU time taken by the ATP systems on the general hardware must be measurable by the UNIX /bin/time command. If an ATP system terminates of its own accord, it may not leave any temporary or other output files. If an ATP system is terminated by a SIGXCPU or SIGALRM, it may not leave any temporary or other output files anywhere other than in /tmp.

Multiple copies of the ATP systems have to be executable concurrently on different machines but in the same (NFS cross mounted) directory. It is therefore necessary to avoid producing temporary files that do not have unique names, with respect to the machines and other processes. An adequate solution is a file name including the host machine name and the process id.

For practical reasons excessive output from the ATP systems is not allowed. A limit, dependent on the disk space available, is imposed on the amount of stdout and stderr output that can be produced. The limit is at least 10KB per problem (averaged over all problems so that it is possible to produce some long proofs).

System Installation

Access to the general hardware (or equivalent) is available from the general hardware access deadline. Entrants must install their systems on the general hardware, and ensure that their systems execute on the general hardware according to the required system properties.

For systems entered in the competition divisions, entrants have to deliver an installation package to the competition organizers by the installation deadline. The installation package must be a .tar.gz file containing the system source code, any other files required for installation, and a ReadMe file with instructions for installation. The installation procedure may require changing path variables, invoking make or something similar, etc, but nothing unreasonably complicated. All system binaries must be created in the installation process; they cannot be delivered as part of the installation package. The system is reinstalled onto the general hardware by the competition organizers, following the instructions in the ReadMe file. Installation failures before the installation deadline are passed back to the entrant. After the installation deadline access to the general hardware is denied, and no further changes or late systems are accepted (i.e., deliver your installation package before the installation deadline so if the installation fails you have a chance to fix it!). If you are in doubt about your installation package or procedure, please email the competition organizers.

After the installation deadline the organizers test the ATP systems, first to check that the systems execute correctly (according to the above checks), and secondly to test for soundness. For the soundness testing, non-theorems (satisfiable variants of the eligible problems, e.g., without the conjecture clause, and satisfiable problems selected from the TPTP) are submitted to the systems participating in the MIX, UEQ, FOF, and EPR divisions, and theorems (selected from the TPTP) are submitted to the systems participating in the SAT and EPR divisions. Finding a proof of a non-theorem or a disproof for a theorem indicates unsoundness. If an ATP system fails the soundness testing it is disqualified. The soundness testing has a secondary aim of eliminating the possibility of an ATP system simply delaying for some amount of time and then claiming to have found a solution. Further soundness testing is performed after the competition, as described in the section on performance evaluation.

In the Demonstration division the systems are installed on the respective hardware by the entrants, and no soundness testing has to be performed.