# Computational expressivity of (circular) proofs with fixed points

We study the computational expressivity of proof systems with fixed point operators, within the `proofs-as-programs' paradigm. We start with a calculus ΞΌπ«π© (due to Clairambault) that extends intuitionistic logic by least and greatest positive fixed points. Based in the sequent calculus, ΞΌπ«π© admits a standard extension to a `circular' calculus π’ΞΌπ«π©. Our main result is that, perhaps surprisingly, both ΞΌπ«π© and π’ΞΌπ«π© represent the same first-order functions: those provably total in Ξ ^1_2-π’π _0, a subsystem of second-order arithmetic beyond the `big five' of reverse mathematics and one of the strongest theories for which we have an ordinal analysis (due to Rathjen). This solves various questions in the literature on the computational strength of (circular) proof systems with fixed points. For the lower bound we give a realisability interpretation from an extension of Peano Arithmetic by fixed points that has been shown to be arithmetically equivalent to Ξ ^1_2-π’π _0 (due to MΓΆllerfeld). For the upper bound we construct a novel computability model in order to give a totality argument for circular proofs with fixed points. In fact we formalise this argument itself within Ξ ^1_2-π’π _0 in order to obtain the tight bounds we are after. Along the way we develop some novel reverse mathematics for the Knaster-Tarski fixed point theorem.

READ FULL TEXT