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In the last decades, there was a notable progress in solving the well-known Boolean satisfiability (Sat) problem, which can be witnessed by powerful Sat solvers. One of the reasons why these solvers are so fast are structural properties of instances that are utilized by the solver’s interna. This thesis deals with the well-studied structural property treewidth, which measures the closeness of an instance to being a tree. In fact, there are many problems parameterized by treewidth that are solvable in polynomial time in the instance size when parameterized by treewidth.
In this work, we study advanced treewidth-based methods and tools for problems in knowledge representation and reasoning (KR). Thereby, we provide means to establish precise runtime results (upper bounds) for canonical problems relevant to KR. Then, we present a new type of problem reduction, which we call decomposition-guided (DG) that
allows us to precisely monitor the treewidth when reducing from one problem to another problem. This new reduction type will be the basis for a long-open lower bound result for quantified Boolean formulas and allows us to design a new methodology for establishing runtime lower bounds for problems parameterized by treewidth.
Finally, despite these lower bounds, we provide an efficient implementation of algorithms that adhere to treewidth. Our approach finds suitable abstractions of instances, which are subsequently refined in a recursive fashion, and it uses Sat solvers for solving subproblems. It turns out that our resulting solver is quite competitive for two canonical counting problems related to Sat.

Answer Set Programming (ASP) is a declarative problem solving approach, combining a rich yet simple modeling language with high-performance solving capabilities. Although this has already resulted in various applications, certain aspects of such applications are more naturally modeled using variables over finite domains, for accounting for resources, fine timings, coordinates, or functions. Our goal is thus to extend ASP with constraints over integers while preserving its declarative nature. This allows for fast prototyping and elaboration tolerant problem descriptions of resource related applications. The resulting paradigm is called Constraint Answer Set Programming (CASP).
We present three different approaches for solving CASP problems. The first one, a lazy, modular approach combines an ASP solver with an external system for handling constraints. This approach has the advantage that two state of the art technologies work hand in hand to solve the problem, each concentrating on its part of the problem. The drawback is that inter-constraint dependencies cannot be communicated back to the ASP solver, impeding its learning algorithm. The second approach translates all constraints to ASP. Using the appropriate encoding techniques, this results in a very fast, monolithic system. Unfortunately, due to the large, explicit representation of constraints and variables, translation techniques are restricted to small and mid-sized domains. The third approach merges the lazy and the translational approach, combining the strength of both while removing their weaknesses. To this end, we enhance the dedicated learning techniques of an ASP solver with the inferences of the translating approach in a lazy way. That is, the important knowledge is only made explicit when needed.
By using state of the art techniques from neighboring fields, we provide ways to tackle real world, industrial size problems. By extending CASP to reactive solving, we open up new application areas such as online planning with continuous domains and durations.

Deciphering the functioning of biological networks is one of the central tasks in systems biology. In particular, signal transduction networks are crucial for the understanding of the cellular response to external and internal perturbations. Importantly, in order to cope with the complexity of these networks, mathematical and computational modeling is required. We propose a computational modeling framework in order to achieve more robust discoveries in the context of logical signaling networks. More precisely, we focus on modeling the response of logical signaling networks by means of automated reasoning using Answer Set Programming (ASP). ASP provides a declarative language for modeling various knowledge representation and reasoning problems. Moreover, available ASP solvers provide several reasoning modes for assessing the multitude of answer sets. Therefore, leveraging its rich modeling language and its highly efficient solving capacities, we use ASP to address three challenging problems in the context of logical signaling networks: learning of (Boolean) logical networks, experimental design, and identification of intervention strategies. Overall, the contribution of this thesis is three-fold. Firstly, we introduce a mathematical framework for characterizing and reasoning on the response of logical signaling networks. Secondly, we contribute to a growing list of successful applications of ASP in systems biology. Thirdly, we present a software providing a complete pipeline for automated reasoning on the response of logical signaling networks.

Answer Set Programming (ASP) is an emerging paradigm for declarative programming, in which a computational problem is specified by a logic program such that particular models, called answer sets, match solutions. ASP faces a growing range of applications, demanding for high-performance tools able to solve complex problems. ASP integrates ideas from a variety of neighboring fields. In particular, automated techniques to search for answer sets are inspired by Boolean Satisfiability (SAT) solving approaches. While the latter have firm proof-theoretic foundations, ASP lacks formal frameworks for characterizing and comparing solving methods. Furthermore, sophisticated search patterns of modern SAT solvers, successfully applied in areas like, e.g., model checking and verification, are not yet established in ASP solving. We address these deficiencies by, for one, providing proof-theoretic frameworks that allow for characterizing, comparing, and analyzing approaches to answer set computation. For another, we devise modern ASP solving algorithms that integrate and extend state-of-the-art techniques for Boolean constraint solving. We thus contribute to the understanding of existing ASP solving approaches and their interconnections as well as to their enhancement by incorporating sophisticated search patterns. The central idea of our approach is to identify atomic as well as composite constituents of a propositional logic program with Boolean variables. This enables us to describe fundamental inference steps, and to selectively combine them in proof-theoretic characterizations of various ASP solving methods. In particular, we show that different concepts of case analyses applied by existing ASP solvers implicate mutual exponential separations regarding their best-case complexities. We also develop a generic proof-theoretic framework amenable to language extensions, and we point out that exponential separations can likewise be obtained due to case analyses on them. We further exploit fundamental inference steps to derive Boolean constraints characterizing answer sets. They enable the conception of ASP solving algorithms including search patterns of modern SAT solvers, while also allowing for direct technology transfers between the areas of ASP and SAT solving. Beyond the search for one answer set of a logic program, we address the enumeration of answer sets and their projections to a subvocabulary, respectively. The algorithms we develop enable repetition-free enumeration in polynomial space without being intrusive, i.e., they do not necessitate any modifications of computations before an answer set is found. Our approach to ASP solving is implemented in clasp, a state-of-the-art Boolean constraint solver that has successfully participated in recent solver competitions. Although we do here not address the implementation techniques of clasp or all of its features, we present the principles of its success in the context of ASP solving.

Answer Set Programming (ASP) emerged in the late 1990s as a new logic programming paradigm, having its roots in nonmonotonic reasoning, deductive databases, and logic programming with negation as failure. The basic idea of ASP is to represent a computational problem as a logic program whose answer sets correspond to solutions, and then to use an answer set solver for finding answer sets of the program. ASP is particularly suited for solving NP-complete search problems. Among these, we find applications to product configuration, diagnosis, and graph-theoretical problems, e.g. finding Hamiltonian cycles. On different lines of ASP research, many extensions of the basic formalism have been proposed. The most intensively studied one is the modelling of preferences in ASP. They constitute a natural and effective way of selecting preferred solutions among a plethora of solutions for a problem. For example, preferences have been successfully used for timetabling, auctioning, and product configuration. In this thesis, we concentrate on preferences within answer set programming. Among several formalisms and semantics for preference handling in ASP, we concentrate on ordered logic programs with the underlying D-, W-, and B-semantics. In this setting, preferences are defined among rules of a logic program. They select preferred answer sets among (standard) answer sets of the underlying logic program. Up to now, those preferred answer sets have been computed either via a compilation method or by meta-interpretation. Hence, the question comes up, whether and how preferences can be integrated into an existing ASP solver. To solve this question, we develop an operational graph-based framework for the computation of answer sets of logic programs. Then, we integrate preferences into this operational approach. We empirically observe that our integrative approach performs in most cases better than the compilation method or meta-interpretation. Another research issue in ASP are optimization methods that remove redundancies, as also found in database query optimizers. For these purposes, the rather recently suggested notion of strong equivalence for ASP can be used. If a program is strongly equivalent to a subprogram of itself, then one can always use the subprogram instead of the original program, a technique which serves as an effective optimization method. Up to now, strong equivalence has not been considered for logic programs with preferences. In this thesis, we tackle this issue and generalize the notion of strong equivalence to ordered logic programs. We give necessary and sufficient conditions for the strong equivalence of two ordered logic programs. Furthermore, we provide program transformations for ordered logic programs and show in how far preferences can be simplified. Finally, we present two new applications for preferences within answer set programming. First, we define new procedures for group decision making, which we apply to the problem of scheduling a group meeting. As a second new application, we reconstruct a linguistic problem appearing in German dialects within ASP. Regarding linguistic studies, there is an ongoing debate about how unique the rule systems of language are in human cognition. The reconstruction of grammatical regularities with tools from computer science has consequences for this debate: if grammars can be modelled this way, then they share core properties with other non-linguistic rule systems.