Using First-Order Logic to Reason about Policies

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Using First-Order Logic to Reason about Policies
A policy describes the conditions under which an action is permitted or forbidden. We show that a fragment of (multi-sorted) first-order logic can be used to represent and reason about policies. Because we use first-order logic, policies have a clear syntax and semantics. We show that further restricting the fragment results in a language that is still quite expressive yet is also tractable. More precisely, questions about entailment, such as ‘May Alice access the file?’, can be answered in time that is a low-order polynomial (indeed, almost linear in some cases), as can questions about the consistency of policy sets. We also give a brief overview of a prototype that we have built whose reasoning engine is based on the logic and whose interface is designed for non-logicians, allowing them to enter both policies and background information, such as ‘Alice is a student’, and to ask questions about the policies.
Joseph Y. Halpern, Vicky Weissman
Added 04 Jul 2010
Updated 04 Jul 2010
Type Conference
Year 2003
Where CSFW
Authors Joseph Y. Halpern, Vicky Weissman
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