Progress-based verification and derivation of concurrent programs

Brijesh Dongol (2009). Progress-based verification and derivation of concurrent programs PhD Thesis, School of Information Technol and Elec Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Brijesh Dongol
Thesis Title Progress-based verification and derivation of concurrent programs
School, Centre or Institute School of Information Technol and Elec Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-03-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 248
Total black and white pages 248
Subjects 08 Information and Computing Sciences
Abstract/Summary Concurrent programs are known to be complicated because synchronisation is required amongst the processes in order to ensure safety (nothing bad ever happens) and progress (something good eventually happens). Due to possible interference from other processes, a straightforward rearrangement of statements within a process can lead to dramatic changes in the behaviour of a program, even if the behaviour of the process executing in isolation is unaltered. Verifying concurrent programs using informal arguments are usually unconvincing, which makes formal methods a necessity. However, formal proofs can be challenging due to the complexity of concurrent programs. Furthermore, safety and progress properties are proved using fundamentally different techniques. Within the literature, safety has been given considerably more attention than progress. One method of formally verifying a concurrent program is to develop the program, then perform a post-hoc verification using one of the many available frameworks. However, this approach tends to be optimistic because the developed program seldom satisfies its requirements. When a proof becomes difficult, it can be unclear whether the proof technique or the program itself is at fault. Furthermore, following any modifications to program code, a verification may need to be repeated from the beginning. An alternative approach is to develop a program using a verify-while-develop paradigm. Here, one starts with a simple program together with the safety and progress requirements that need to be established. Each derivation step consists of a verification, followed by introduction of new program code motivated using the proofs themselves. Because a program is developed side-by-side with its proof, the completed program satisfies the original requirements. Our point of departure for this thesis is the Feijen and van Gasteren method for deriving concurrent programs, which uses the logic of Owicki and Gries. Although Feijen and van Gasteren derive several concurrent programs, because the Owicki-Gries logic does not include a logic of progress, their derivations only consider safety properties formally. Progress is considered post-hoc to the derivation using informal arguments. Furthermore, rules on how programs may be modified have not been presented, i.e., a program may be arbitrarily modified and hence unspecified behaviours may be introduced. In this thesis, we develop a framework for developing concurrent programs in the verify-while-develop paradigm. Our framework incorporates linear temporal logic, LTL, and hence both safety and progress properties may be given full consideration. We examine foundational aspects of progress by formalising minimal progress, weak fairness and strong fairness, which allow scheduler assumptions to be described. We formally define progress terms such as individual progress, individual deadlock, liveness, etc (which are properties of blocking programs) and wait-, lock-, and obstruction-freedom (which are properties of non-blocking programs). Then, we explore the inter-relationships between the various terms under the different fairness assumptions. Because LTL is known to be difficult to work with directly, we incorporate the logic of Owicki-Gries (for proving safety) and the leads-to relation from UNITY (for proving progress) within our framework. Following the nomenclature of Feijen and van Gasteren, our techniques are kept calculational, which aids derivation. We prove soundness of our framework by proving theorems that relate our techniques to the LTL definitions. Furthermore, we introduce several methods for proving progress using a well-founded relation, which keeps proofs of progress scalable. During program derivation, in order to ensure unspecified behaviour is not introduced, it is also important to verify a refinement, i.e., show that every behaviour of the final (more complex) program is a possible behaviour of the abstract representation. To facilitate this, we introduce the concept of an enforced property, which is a property that the program code does not satisfy, but is required of the final program. Enforced properties may be any LTL formula, and hence may represent both safety and progress requirements. We formalise stepwise refinement of programs with enforced properties, so that code is introduced in a manner that satisfies the enforced properties, yet refinement of the original program is guaranteed. We present derivations of several concurrent programs from the literature.
Keyword concurrency
formal methods
enforced properties

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Created: Fri, 25 Sep 2009, 01:33:36 EST by Mr Brijesh Dongol on behalf of Library - Information Access Service