Section: Research Program

Component-Based Architectures for On-the-Fly Verification

On-the-fly verification fights against state explosion by enabling an incremental, demand-driven exploration of LTSs, thus avoiding their entire construction prior to verification. In this approach, LTS models are handled implicitly by means of their post function, which computes the transitions going out of given states and thus serves as a basis for any forward exploration algorithm. On-the-fly verification tools are complex software artifacts, which must be designed as modularly as possible to enhance their robustness, reduce their development effort, and facilitate their evolution. To achieve such a modular framework, we undertake research in several directions:

  • New interfaces for on-the-fly LTS manipulation. The current application programming interface (API) for on-the-fly graph manipulation, named OPEN/CAESAR [41], provides an “opaque” representation of states and actions (transitions labels): states are represented as memory areas of fixed size and actions are character strings. Although appropriate to the pure process algebraic setting, this representation must be generalized to provide additional information supporting an efficient construction of advanced verification features, such as: handling of the types, functions, data values, and parallel structure of the source program under verification, independence of transitions in the LTS, quantitative (timed/probabilistic/stochastic) information, etc.

  • Compositional framework for on-the-fly LTS analysis. On-the-fly model checkers and equivalence checkers usually perform several operations on graph models (LTSs, Boolean graphs, etc.), such as exploration, parallel composition, partial order reduction, encoding of model checking and equivalence checking in terms of Boolean equation systems, resolution and diagnostic generation for Boolean equation systems, etc. To facilitate the design, implementation, and usage of these functionalities, it is necessary to encapsulate them in software components that could be freely combined and replaced. Such components would act as graph transformers, that would execute (on a sequential machine) in a way similar to coroutines and to the composition of lazy functions in functional programming languages. Besides its obvious benefits in modularity, such a component-based architecture will also make it possible to take advantage of multi-core processors.

  • New generic components for on-the-fly verification. The quest for new on-the-fly components for LTS analysis must be pursued, with the goal of obtaining a rich catalog of interoperable components serving as building blocks for new analysis features. A long-term goal of this approach is to provide an increasingly large catalog of interoperable components covering all verification and analysis functionalities that appear to be useful in practice. It is worth noticing that some components can be very complex pieces of software (e.g., the encapsulation of an on-the-fly model checker for a rich temporal logic). Ideally, it should be possible to build a novel verification or analysis tool by assembling on-the-fly graph manipulation components taken from the catalog. This would provide a flexible means of building new verification and analysis tools by reusing generic, interoperable model manipulation components.