Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Proved development of algorithms and systems

Incremental development of distributed algorithms

Participants : Dominique Méry, Manamiary Andriamiarina.

Joint work with Mohammed Mosbah and Mohammed Tounsi from the LABRI laboratory in Bordeaux, France.

The development of distributed algorithms and, more generally, of distributed systems, is a complex, delicate, and challenging process. The approach based on refinement helps to gain formality by using a proof assistant, and proposes to apply a design methodology that starts from the most abstract model and leads, in an incremental way, to the most concrete model, for producing a distributed solution. Our work helps formalizing pre-existing algorithms, developing new algorithms, as well as developing models for distributed systems.

Our research was initially supported by the ANR project RIMEL (see ). More concretely, we aim at an integration of the correct-by-construction refinement-based approach into the local computation programming model. The team of LABRI develops an environment called VISIDIA ( ) that provides a toolset for developing distributed algorithms expressed as a set of rewriting rules of graph structures. The simulation of rewriting rules is based on synchronization algorithms, and we have developed these algorithms by refinement [20] .

In particular, we show how state-based models can be developed for specific problems and how they can be simply reused by controlling the composition of state-based models through the refinement relationship. Traditionally, distributed algorithms are supposed to run on a fixed network, whereas we consider a network with a changing topology.

The contribution is related to the development of proof-based patterns providing effective help to the developer of formal models of applications [10] . Our patterns simplify the development of distributed systems using refinement and temporal logic. Moreover, we have especially evaluated the extension of the scope of Event B by proposing a technique for integrating fairness in the development of distributed algorithms [17] .

Modeling Medical Devices

Participant : Dominique Méry.

Formal modelling techniques and tools have attained sufficient maturity for formalizing highly critical systems in view of improving their quality and reliability, and the development of such methods has attracted the interest of industrial partners and academic research institutions. Building high quality and zero-defect medical software-based devices is a particular domain where formal modelling techniques can be applied effectively. Medical devices are very prone to showing unexpected system behaviour in operation when traditional methods are used for system testing. Device-related problems have been responsible for a large number of serious injuries. Officials of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that many deaths and injuries related to these devices are caused by flaws in product design and engineering. Cardiac pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are among the most critical medical devices and require closed-loop modelling (integrated system and environment modelling) for verification purposes before obtaining a certificate from the certification bodies.

Clinical guidelines systematically assist practitioners in providing appropriate health care in specific clinical circumstances. Today, a significant number of guidelines and protocols are lacking in quality. Indeed, ambiguity and incompleteness are likely anomalies in medical practice. The analysis of guidelines using formal methods is a promising approach for improving them.

In [9] , we propose a refinement-based methodology for complex medical systems design, which possesses all the required key features. A refinement-based combined approach of formal verification, model validation using a model-checker and refinement chart is proposed in this methodology for designing a high-confidence medical device. Furthermore, we show the effectiveness of this methodology for the design of a cardiac pacemaker system.

Inappropriate mode transitions can be a common cause of mishaps in complex health-care systems. In [19] , we present an approach for formalizing and reasoning about optimal mode transition in a health-care system that uses several operating modes in various operating states. Modes are formalized and their relation to a state-based formalism is established through a refinement approach. The efficiency of this approach is presented by formalizing an ideal operating mode transition of a cardiac pacemaker case study. An incremental approach is used to develop the system and its detailed design is verified through a series of refinements. In this way, we show how to improve system structuring, elicitation of system assumptions and expected functionality, as well as requirement traceability using modes in state-based modeling. Models are expressed in the Event B [25] modeling language, and they are validated by the model checker ProB.

Finally, in a joint work with colleagues of the CRAN laboratory in Nancy, we have completed a joint project with Airbus on the integration of physiological features in the development of systems like maintenance systems.

Analysis of real-time Java programs

Participants : Jingshu Chen, Marie Duflot-Kremer, Pascal Fontaine, Stephan Merz.

Joint work with Nadezhda Baklanova, Jan-Georg Smaus, Wilmer Ricciotti, and Martin Strecker at IRIT Toulouse, France, funded by EADS Foundation (see also section 7.1 ).

We investigate techniques for the formal verification of programs written in a dialect of Java that includes real-time annotations. Inspired by Safety-Critical Java [36] , our partners in Toulouse developed a formal semantics for that dialect in Isabelle/HOL. In joint work, we have designed translations of programs to respectively timed automata and to SMT-Lib for analysis with the Uppaal model checker and with SMT solvers. We are evaluating the features and the scalability of the two approaches, and also plan to formally prove the soundness of the translations based on the semantics formalized in Isabelle.

Fundamentals of Network Calculus in Isabelle/HOL

Participant : Stephan Merz.

Joint work with Marc Boyer from ONERA (Toulouse, France) and Loïc Fejoz, Etienne Mabille and Nicolas Navet from RealTime at Work (RTaW, Nancy).

Network Calculus [45] is a well-established theory for the design and analysis of embedded networks. Based on the (min,+) dioid, it allows a network designer to compute upper bounds for delay and buffer sizes in networks. The theory is supported by several commercial and open-source tools and has been used in major industrial applications, such as the design and certification of the Airbus A380 AFDX backbone. Nevertheless, it is difficult for certification authorities to assess the correctness of the computations carried out by the tools supporting Network Calculus, and we propose the use of result certification techniques for increasing the confidence in the Network Calculus toolchain. We have formalized parts of the theory underlying Network Calculus in the proof assistant Isabelle/HOL. We have also developed a prototype analyzer that outputs traces of its computations so that they can be certified using Isabelle. Our work has been published at the conferences EUCASS and ITP [16] , [24] , and we have submitted a project proposal to ANR together with ONERA, RTaW, Kalray, Eurocopter, and Astrium. Unfortunately, the project was not granted, and future work on this promising subject is on hold.

Modeling and verifying the Pastry routing protocol

Participants : Tianxiang Lu, Stephan Merz, Christoph Weidenbach.

As a significant case study for the techniques that we are developing within VeriDis, we are modeling and verifying the routing protocol of the Pastry algorithm [37] for maintaining a distributed hash table in a peer-to-peer network. As part of his PhD work, Tianxiang Lu developed a TLA+ model of the Pastry routing protocol, and has uncovered several problems in the existing presentations of the protocol in the literature that could lead to network partitioning.

He proposed a novel variant of the protocol and proved its correctness under the strong assumption that no nodes leave the network, using TLAPS (see section 5.2 ). He also demonstrated that the protocol could not work if arbitrary nodes are allowed to leave; it is not clear at this point under what reasonable assumptions the protocol can be made to work. The correctness proofs contain almost 15000 interactions and constitutes the largest case study carried out so far using TLAPS. Tianxiang Lu defended his thesis at the end of November 2013; a journal publication describing this work is in preparation.

Bounding message length in attacks against security protocols

Participant : Marie Duflot-Kremer.

Joint work with Myrto Arapinis from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Security protocols are short programs that describe communication between two or more parties in order to achieve security goals. Despite the apparent simplicity of such protocols, their verification is a difficult problem and has been shown to be undecidable in general. This undecidability comes from the fact that the set of executions to be considered is of infinite depth (an infinite number of protocol sessions can be run) and infinitely branching (the intruder can generate an unbounded number of distinct messages). Several attempts have been made to tackle each of these sources of undecidability. We have shown [30] that, under a syntactic and reasonable condition of “well-formedness” on the protocol, we can get rid of the infinitely branching part. Following this conference publication, we have submitted a journal version of this result extending the set of security properties to which the result is applicable, in particular including authentication properties.

Evaluating and verifying probabilistic systems

Participant : Marie Duflot-Kremer.

Joint work with colleagues at ENS Cachan and University Paris Est Créteil.

Since its introduction in the 1980s, model checking has become a prominent technique for the verification of complex systems. The aim was to decide whether or not a system was fulfilling its specification. With the rise of probabilistic systems, new techniques have been designed to verify this new type of systems, and appropriate logics have been proposed to describe more subtle properties to be verified. However, some characteristics of such systems cannot fall in the field of model checking. The aim is thus not to tell wether a property is satisfied but how well the system performs with respect to a certain measure. We have designed a statistical tool for tackling both performance and verification issues. Following several conference talks, two journal papers have been written. The first one presents the approach in details with a few illustrative applications. The second one focuses on biological application, and more precisely the use of statistical model checking to detect and measure several indicators of oscillating biological systems.