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

Research Interests:

A highlight of 2016: Simons Insistute Programme on Logical Structures in Computation, Berkeley

Current PhD Students:

also among the co-organisers of PhDs in Logic 2016 at TU Darmstadt


For previous years see



2016 (summer term)


  • Introduction to Mathematical Logic (4+2, winter 2014/15), moodle course

  • Modal Logics (Vertiefung Logik 2+1, winter 2014/15), moodle course

  • Formale Grundlagen der Informatik I/II (CS year 1, 4+2, summer 15), moodle course

  • Seminar: Logic, Discrete Structures, Algorithmic Methods (summer 2015), announcement

Selected Publications and Preprints

See also (fuller) list of publications

Amalgamation and symmetry: from local to global consistency in the finite.
arXiv:1709.00031, 47 pages, 2017;
substantial re-organization of results from arXiv:1404.4599.

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

Common knowledge & multi-scale locality analysis in Cayley structures, with Felix Canavoi.
Conference paper in LICS 2017.

Pebble games and linear equations, with Martin Grohe.
Journal of Symbolic Logic, volume 80(3), 2015, pp. 797-844;
also see arXiv:1204.1990;

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

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

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

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

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Unpublished extended version of CSL 96 paper, 1994, 32 pages.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

Selected Talks

See also (fuller) list of talks

Back & forth between malleable finite models
Berkeley Logic Colloquium, Berkeley 2016.
(extended material on slides to go with a blackboard talk)

Logics for Bisimulation Invariance
Logical Structures Seminar, Simons Institute, Berkeley 2016.

Amalgamation and symmetries in the finite
Workshop on Model Theory of Finite and Pseudofinite Structures, Leeds 2016.

Amalgamation and local-to-global in the finite with suitable groupoids
New Pathways between Group Theory and Model Theory, Mülheim 2016.

Up to bisimulation -- but keep it finite!, Amsterdam 2015.

Local to Global: Amalgamation and Symmetries in Finite Structures
Leeds Logic Seminar & Algebra, Logic and Algorithms Seminar, Leeds 2015.
(slides to go with a talk delivered in condensed blackboard version)

Finite Global Realisations of Local Overlap Specifications
Special Session on Computational Logic, DMV-PTM meeting, Poznan 2014.

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

Tractable Finite Models
Logic Colloquium, Barcelona 2011.

photograph at the top by L. Otto (2013)
photograph below by H. Otto (2009)

My research interests primarily lie in connections between mathematical logic, model theory, combinatorics and the expressibility and complexity of structural properties. Before my appointment as a professor in mathematics at TU Darmstadt in 2003, I held a reader position in theoretical computer science at Swansea University in Wales. My academic background also encompasses earlier interests in geometry and mathematical physics (diploma thesis under the supervision of H Römer, Freiburg), abstract model theory (doctoral dissertation under the supervision of H-D Ebbinghaus, Freiburg) and, eventually, a focus on finite model theory (my habilitation in the group of E Grädel, RWTH Aachen) and logic in computer science. One theme that bridges some of these varied interests is that of similarities between and symmetries of structures and associated notions of indistinguishability based on logic and games.

April 2016, Martin Otto