Section: New Results
Software specification and verification
Tools for TLA+
Participants : Damien Doligez, Leslie Lamport [Microsoft Research] , Stephan Merz [EPI VeriDis] , Tomer Libal [Microsoft Research-Inria Joint Centre] , Hernán Vanzetto [Microsoft Research-Inria Joint Centre] .
Damien Doligez is head of the “Tools for Proofs” team in the Microsoft-Inria Joint Centre. The aim of this team is to extend the TLA+ language with a formal language for hierarchical proofs, formalizing the ideas in  , and to build tools for writing TLA+ specifications and mechanically checking the corresponding formal proofs.
This year, the TLA+ project released two new versions (in January and in November) of the TLA+ tools: the GUI-based TLA Toolbox and the TLA+ Proof System, an environment for writing and checking TLA+ proofs. This environment is described in a paper presented at the 2012 symposium on Formal Methods  . The January release (version 1.0 of TLAPS and 1.4.1 of Toolbox) added support for back-ends based on SMT provers (CVC3, Z3, Yices, VeriT), which dramatically extends the range of proof obligations that the system can discharge automatically. The November release includes many bug-fixes and performance improvements.
We have also improved the theoretical design of the proof language with respect to temporal properties. This design will be implemented in TLAPS in the near future.
Web site: http://tlaplus.net/
The Zenon automatic theorem prover
Participants : Damien Doligez, David Delahaye [CNAM] , Mélanie Jacquel [CNAM] .
Damien Doligez continued the development of Zenon, a tableau-based prover for first-order logic with equality and theory-specific extensions. Version 0.7.1 of Zenon was released in May.
David Delahaye and Mélanie Jacquel designed and implemented (with some help from Damien Doligez) an extension of Zenon called SuperZenon, based on the Superdeduction framework of Brauner, Houtmann, and Kirchner  .
Both Zenon and SuperZenon entered the CASC theorem-proving contest, where, as expected, SuperZenon did much better than Zenon.
Hybrid contract checking via symbolic simplification
Participant : Na Xu.
Program errors are hard to detect or prove absent. Allowing programmers to write formal and precise specifications, especially in the form of contracts, is one popular approach to program verification and error discovery. Na Xu formalizes and implements a hybrid contract checker for a pure subset of OCaml. The key technique we use is symbolic simplification, which makes integrating static and dynamic contract checking easy and effective. This technique statically verifies that a function satisfies its contract or blames the function violating the contract. When a contract satisfaction is undecidable, it leaves residual code for dynamic contract checking.
A paper describing this result is published in the proceeding of the PEPM'2012 conference  . An extended version of this paper will appear in the journal Higher-Order and Symbolic Computation. Na Xu implemented this approach in a prototype based on the OCaml 3.12.1 compiler and experimented with nontrivial examples such as sorting algorithms and balancing AVL trees (see http://gallium.inria.fr/~naxu/research/hcc.html ).
Probabilistic contracts for component-based design
Participants : Na Xu, Gregor Goessler [project-team POPART] , Alain Girault [project-team POPART] .
We define a framework of probabilistic contracts for constructing component-based embedded systems, based on the formalism of discrete-time Interactive Markov Chains. A contract specifies the assumptions a component makes on its context and the guarantees it provides. Probabilistic transitions represent allowed uncertainty in the component behavior, for instance, to model internal choice or reliability. Action transitions are used to model non-deterministic behavior and communication between components. An interaction model specifies how components interact with each other.
We provide the ingredients for a component-based design flow, including (1) contract satisfaction and refinement, (2) parallel composition of contracts over disjoint, interacting components, and (3) conjunction of contracts describing different requirements over the same component. Compositional design is enabled by congruence of refinement. A paper describing the details of this result is published in the journal Formal Methods in System Design  .