Homepage of Martin Otto

Selected Papers List of Publications
Selected Talks Curriculum Vitae
Research: AMT Teaching the end

Professor in Mathematics
Logic and Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science

Logic Group
Mathematics Department (FB 4)
Technische Universität Darmstadt
Schlossgartenstrasse 7
D-64289 Darmstadt

tel: (+49) 06151-1622861 (office)
tel: (+49) 06151-1622863 (secretary's office)
fax: (+49) 06151-1622840
mail: otto [at] mathematik.tu-darmstadt.de

formerly Reader in Theoretical Computer Science,
Department of Computer Science, Swansea University, Wales, UK

Research Interests:


For previous years see




  • Introduction to Mathematical Logic (4+2, winter 2012/13), course homepage

  • Cassical & Non-Classical Model Theory (Vertiefung Logik, 4+2, summer 2013), course homepage

  • Logic Seminar (summer 2013):
    Modal logics & dynamic epistemic logics, announcement


  • Logic and Foundations (in German, summer 2012), course homepage

  • Logic Seminar (summer 2012):
    Algebraic graph theory, combinatorics and logic, announcement




Selected Publications and Preprints:

See also (fuller) list of publications

Bounded Variable Logics and Counting - A Study in Finite Models,
Lecture Notes in Logic volume 9, Springer 1997, IX+183 pages.
Abstract BibTeX entry

Model Theory of Modal Logic, with V. Goranko.
Final version (May 2006) of chapter (approx. 80 pages) for:
Handbook of Modal Logic, P. Blackburn, J. van Benthem, F. Wolter (eds), Elsevier, 2006.

Model Theoretic Methods For Fragments of FO And Special Classes Of (Finite) Structures,
in: Finite and Algorithmic Model Theory, J. Esparza, C. Michaux, C. Steinhorn (eds),
LMS Lecture Notes Series, vol. 379, Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Finite groupoids, finite coverings and symmetries in finite structures,
preprint, 50 pages, 2015; also see arXiv:1404.4599.

The freedoms of (guarded) bisimulation, with Erich Graedel.
In: Johan van Benthem on Logic and Information Dynamics, A. Baltag, S. Smets (eds), Springer 2014, pp. 3-31.

Highly acyclic groups, hypergraph covers and the guarded fragment,
revised version 2011, 45 pages. Journal version of LICS 2010 paper, JACM, 2012.
JACM, 59:1, Article No 5, February 2012. Abstract

Pebble games and linear equations, with Martin Grohe.
Preprint, 54 pages, revised 2015, to appear in JSL; also see arXiv:1204.1990;
(this is the long version of a CSL 2012 paper).

Decidability results for the boundedness problem, with A. Blumensath and M. Weyer.
Journal version based on results in the ICALP'09 paper, Logical Methods in Computer Science, 10 (3), 2014;
also see arXiv:1406.7684, Abstract

Querying the guarded fragment, with Vince Barany and Georg Gottlob.
Journal version of LICS 2010 paper, Logical Methods in Computer Science,
volume 10 (2), 2014; also see arXiv:1309.5822; Abstract

Bisimulation and covers for graphs and hypergraphs,
extended abstract of invited talk for ICLA 2013, Chennai, LNCS 7750, Kamal Lodaya (ed), pp. 5-16.

Queries with guarded negation, with Vince Barany and Balder ten Cate.
Preprint, 19 pages; also see arXiv:1203.0077;
also (without appendix) as VLDB 2012 paper (PVLDB 5(11):1328-1339, 2012), 12 pages.

Expressive completeness through logically tractable models,
Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 164, pp. 1418-1453, 2013. Abstract

Avoiding incidental homomorphisms into guarded covers,
technical report, TUD online preprint no.2600, 2009, 10 pages. Abstract

A Lindström characterisation of the guarded fragment and of modal logic with a global modality, with Robert Piro.
in: Advances in Modal Logic 7, C. Areces, R. Goldblatt (eds), 2008, pp. 273-288. Abstract

Modal characterisation theorems over special classes of frames, with A. Dawar.
Extended journal version LICS 2005 paper, Annals of Pure and Applied Logic, volume 161, 2009, pp. 1-42. Abstract

Boundedness of monadic FO over acyclic structures, with S. Kreutzer and N. Schweikardt.
ICALP'07, LNCS, volume 4596, 2007, pp. 571-582. Abstract

The boundedness problem for monadic universal FO,
Proceedings of 21st IEEE Symp. on Logic in Computer Science, LICS 2006, pp. 37-46. Abstract

Small substructures and decidability issues for first-order logic with two variables , with E. Kieronski.
Journal of Symbolic Logic, volume 77(3), 2012, pp. 729-765. Journal version of LICS'05 paper. Abstract

Modal and guarded characterisation theorems over finite transition systems,
Annals of Pure and Applied Logic, volume 130, 2004, pp. 173-205. Abstract

Elementary proof of the van Benthem - Rosen characterisation theorem,
technical report, TUD online preprint no.2342, 2004, 11 pages. Abstract

Bisimulation invariance and finite structures,
Lecture Notes in Logic, Logic Colloquium 02, 2006, pp. 276-298. Abstract

Finite conformal hypergraph covers and Gaifman cliques in finite structures, with I. Hodkinson.
Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, volume 9, 2003, pp. 387-405. Abstract

Back and forth between guarded and modal logics, with E. Grädel and C. Hirsch.
ACM Transactions on Computational Logic, volume 3, 2002, pp. 418-463. Abstract

Two Variable First-Order Logic over Ordered Domains.
Journal of Symbolic Logic, volume 66, 2001, pp. 685-702. Abstract

Epsilon-Logic is More Expressive Than First-Order Logic over Finite Structures.
Journal of Symbolic Logic, volume 65, 2000, pp. 1749-1757. Abstract

An Interpolation Theorem.
Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, volume 6, 2000, pp. 447-462. Abstract

On Logics with Two Variables, with E. Grädel.
Theoretical Computer Science, 224, 1999, pp. 73-113. Abstract

Bisimulation-Invariant Ptime and Higher-Dimensional mu-Calculus.
Theoretical Computer Science, 224, 1999, pp. 237-266. Abstract

Beth Definability for the Guarded Fragment, with E. Hoogland and M. Marx.
LPAR'99, LNAI, vol. 1705, Springer 1999, pp. 273-285. Abstract
Also in: JFAK, Essays Dedicated to Johan van Benthem on the Occasion of his 50th Birthday.

Eliminating Recursion in the mu-Calculus.
in Proceedings of STACS'99, LNCS 1563, Springer 1999, pp. 531-540. Abstract

On the Boundedness Problem for Two-Variable First-Order Logic, with P. Kolaitis.
LICS'98. Abstract

Undecidability Results on Two-Variable Logics, with E. Grädel and E. Rosen.
Archive for Mathematical Logic, 38, 1999, pp. 313-345. Abstract

Symmetry and First-Order: Explicitly Presentation-Invariant Circuits.
Unpublished extended version of CSL 96 paper, 1994, 32 pages. Abstract

Selected Talks:

Finite Global Realisations of Local Overlap Specifications
Invited talk, special session on Computational Logic, DMV-PTM meeting, Poznan, 2014.

Groupoids, Hypergraphs, and Symmetries of Finite Structures
LICS~2013, New Orleans, 2013.

Groupoids, Hypergraphs, Symmetries
AlMoTh~2013, TU Berlin, 2013.

Bisimulation and Games for Graphs and Hypergraphs
Tutorial at Games Winter School, Champery, 2013.

Bisimulation and Coverings for Graphs and Hypergraphs
Invited talk, 5th Indian Conference on Logic and Its Applications, ICLA 2013, Chennai 2013.

Finite model constructions for guarded logics
Finite and Algorithmic Model Theory 2012, Les Houches 2012.

Tree unfoldings and their finite counterparts
AlMoTh 2012, Ilmenau 2012.

Controlling Cycles in Finite Hypergraphs
Monday Lecture: Methods for Discrete Structures, Berlin 2011.

The Freedoms of Guarded Bisimulation
Invited talk, Computer Science Logic , Bergen 2011.

Tractable Finite Models
Invited talk, Logic Colloquium, Barcelona 2011.

Expressive Completeness
Invited talk, Advances in Modal Logic 2010, Moscow 2010.

Highly Acyclic Groups, Hypergraph Covers and GF
LICS 2010, Edinburgh 2010.

Diagonalen, die den Rahmen sprengen
Begleitprogramm zur hessischen Mathe-Olympiade 2010, TU Darmstadt 2010.

Methods For Deciding Boundedness of Least Fixed Points
Fachgruppentreffen Logik in der Informatik, Frankfurt 2009;
and (edited) Computer Laboratory, Oxford 2009.

Bisimulation Invariance over Transitive Frames
IMCS workshop on Logic and Algorithms, Edinburgh, July 2008.

Games and Fragments of FO over Special Classes of (Finite) Structures
mini-course at MATHLOGAPS summer school
, Aussois, France, June 2007.

Boundedness in Universal First-Order Logic
LICS 2006, Seattle.

Model Theoretic Methods for Special Classes of (Finite) Structures
4 lecture tutorial, Newton Institute Programme on Logic and Algorithms 2006,
Workshop on Finite and Algorithmic Model Theory , Durham, 2006.

Logik und Spiele
Mathematisches Kolloquium TU Darmstadt, February 2004 (in German).

Bisimulation Invariance and Instances of Expressive Completeness
Invited talk, 12th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, LMPS, Oviedo, 2003.

Extensions of Partial Automorphisms; Hypergraphs and Guarded Logics
Invited talk, Euresco Conference on Symmetries, Ordered Structures, Model Theory and Combinatorics, Hattingen, 2003.

Invariances, Games, Models, and (Finite) Model Theory in Tractable Fragments of FO
Invited talk, Colloquium Logicum, Muenster, August 02 (in conjunction with the ASL European Summer Meeting).

For earlier versions presented at Darmstadt and Leeds (December 01), Edinburgh and London (May 02), and Amsterdam (June 02) see edited slides Bisimulation, Unravellings, and Covers.

Logics - Invariances - Games : domain specific algorithmic model theory
Survey talk, held at the University of Edinburgh, April 01.

photographs by U. Berger, 2001

and by H. Otto, 2009