Answer Sets for Logic Programs with Arbitrary Abstract Constraint Atoms

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In this paper, we present two alternative approaches to defining answer sets for logic programs with arbitrary types of abstract constraint atoms (c-atoms). These approaches generalize the fixpoint-based and the level mapping based answer set semantics of normal logic programs to the case of logic programs with arbitrary types of c-atoms. The results are four different answer set definitions which are equivalent when applied to normal logic programs.

The standard fixpoint-based semantics of logic programs is generalized in two directions, called answer set by reduct and answer set by complement. These definitions, which differ from each other in the treatment of negation-as-failure (naf) atoms, make use of an immediate consequence operator to perform answer set checking, whose definition relies on the notion of conditional satisfaction of c-atoms w.r.t. a pair of interpretations.

The other two definitions, called strongly and weakly well-supported models, are generalizations of the notion of well-supported models of normal logic programs to the case of programs with c-atoms. As for the case of fixpoint-based semantics, the difference between these two definitions is rooted in the treatment of naf atoms.

We prove that answer sets by reduct (resp. by complement) are equivalent to weakly (resp. strongly) well-supported models of a program, thus generalizing the theorem on the correspondence between stable models and well-supported models of a normal logic program to the class of programs with c-atoms.

We show that the newly defined semantics coincide with previously introduced semantics for logic programs with monotone c-atoms, and they extend the original answer set semantics of normal logic programs. We also study some properties of answer sets of programs with c-atoms, and relate our definitions to several semantics for logic programs with aggregates presented in the literature.

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