TARGET_REWRITE_TAC : thm list -> thm -> tactic

Performs target implicational rewriting.

Given a theorem th (the ``support theorem''), and another theorem uh (the ``target theorem''), target rewriting generates all the goals that can be obtained by rewriting with th, until it becomes possible to rewrite with uh. Contrarily to standard rewriting techniques, only one position is rewritten at a time (REWRITE_TAC, SIMP_TAC, IMP_REWRITE_TAC, or even ONCE_REWRITE_TAC apply rewriting to several parallel positions if applicable). Therefore only the rewrites that are useful for the application of the theorem uh are achieved in the end. More precisely, given a list of theorems [th_1;...;th_k] of the form !x_1... x_n. P ==> !y_1... y_m. l = r, and a theorem uh of the form !x_1... x_n. Q ==> !y_1... y_m. l' = r', TARGET_REWRITE_TAC [th_1;...;th_k] uh applies target implicational rewriting, i.e. tries all the possible implicational rewrites with th_1, ..., th_k until it obtains a goal where implicational rewrite with uh becomes possible. To understand better the difference with REWRITE_TAC and the need for a target theorem, consider a goal g where more than one subterm can be rewritten using th: with REWRITE_TAC, all such subterms are rewritten simultaneously; whereas, with TARGET_REWRITE_TAC, every of these subterms are rewritten independently, thus yielding as many goals. If one of these goals can be rewritten (in one position or more) by uh, then the tactic returns this goal. Otherwise, the ``one-subterm rewriting'' is applied again on every of the new goals, iteratively until a goal which can be rewritten by uh is obtained.

Fails if no rewrite can be achieved using the support theorems. It may also fail if no path is found to apply the target theorem, but, most of the time, it does not terminate in this situation.

This is a simple example:
  val it : thm = |- !x. x + --x = &0
  # g `!x y z. --y + x + y = &0`;;
  Warning: inventing type variables
  val it : goalstack = 1 subgoal (1 total)

  `!x y z. --y + x + y = &0`

  val it : goalstack = 1 subgoal (1 total)

  `!x. x + &0 = &0`
And a slightly more complex one:
  val it : thm = |- !x. ~(x = &0) ==> x * inv x = &1
  # g `!x y. inv y * x * y = x`;;
  Warning: inventing type variables
  val it : goalstack = 1 subgoal (1 total)

  `!x y z. inv y * x * y = x`

  val it : goalstack = 1 subgoal (1 total)

  `!x y. x * &1 = x / ~(y = &0)`
Let us finally consider an example which does not involve associativity and commutativity. Consider the following goal:
  # g `!z. norm (cnj z) = norm z`;;
  val it : goalstack = 1 subgoal (1 total)

  `!z. norm (cnj z) = norm z`
A preliminary step here is to decompose the left-side z into its polar coordinates. This can be done by applying the following theorem:
  # ARG;;
  val it : thm =
  |- !z. &0 <= Arg z /\ Arg z < &2 * pi /\ z = Cx (norm z) * cexp (ii * Cx (Arg z))
But using standard rewriting would rewrite both sides and would not terminate (or actually, in the current implementation of REWRITE_TAC, simply would not apply). Instead we can use TARGET_REWRITE_TAC by noting that we actually plan to decompose into polar coordinates with the intention of using CNJ_MUL afterwards, which yields:
  val it : goalstack = 1 subgoal (1 total)

  `!z. norm (cnj (Cx (norm z)) * cnj (cexp (ii * Cx (Arg z)))) = norm z`

This tactic is useful each time someone does not want to rewrite a theorem everywhere or if a rewriting diverges. Therefore, it can replace most calls to ONCE_REWRITE_TAC or GEN_REWRITE_TAC: most of the time, these tactics are used to control rewriting more precisely than REWRITE_TAC. However, their use is tedious and time-consuming whereas the corresponding reasoning is not complex. In addition, even when the user manages to come out with a working tactic, this tactic is generally very fragile. Instead, with TARGET_REWRITE_TAC, the user does not have to think about the low-level control of rewriting but just gives the theorem which corresponds to the next step in the proof (see examples): this is extremely simple and fast to devise. Note in addition that, contrarily to an explicit (and therefore fragile) path, the target theorem represents a reasoning step which has few chances to change in further refinements of the script. When using associativity-commutativity theorems as support theorems, this tactic allows to achieve AC-rewriting.