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An Empirical Evaluation of Automated Theorem Provers in Software Certification

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We describe a system for the automated certification of safety properties of NASA software. The system uses Hoare-style program verification technology to generate proof obligations which are then processed by an automated first-order theorem prover (ATP). We discuss the unique requirements this application places on the ATPs, focusing on automation, proof checking, traceability, and usability, and describe the resulting system architecture, including a certification browser that maintains and displays links between obligations and source code locations. For full automation, the obligations must be aggressively preprocessed and simplified, and we demonstrate how the individual simplification stages, which are implemented by rewriting, influence the ability of the ATPs to solve the proof tasks. Our results are based on 13 comprehensive certification experiments that lead to 366 top-level safety obligations and ultimately to more than 25,000 proof tasks which have been used to determine the suitability of the high-performance provers DCTP, E-Setheo, E, Gandalf, Otter, Setheo, Spass, and Vampire, and our associated infrastructure. The proofs found by Otter have been checked by Ivy.

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Denney, Ewen, Fischer, Bernd and Schumann, Johann (2006) An Empirical Evaluation of Automated Theorem Provers in Software Certification International Journal on Artificial Intelligence Tools, 15, (1), pp. 81-107.

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Published date: February 2006
Keywords: software certification, automated theorem proving, program synthesis, proof checking, traceability, verification condition generator, Hoare logic
Organisations: Electronic & Software Systems


Local EPrints ID: 262355
PURE UUID: 17a1c63d-ad2b-4c56-ba9a-7583553357bd

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Date deposited: 12 Apr 2006
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 08:52

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Author: Ewen Denney
Author: Bernd Fischer
Author: Johann Schumann

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