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

New Formal Languages and their Implementations

LNT is a next generation formal description language for asynchronous concurrent systems, which attempts to combine the best features of imperative programming languages and value-passing process algebras. LNT is increasingly used by CONVECS for industrial case studies and applications (see §  6.5 ) and serves also in university courses on concurrency, in particular at ENSIMAG (Grenoble) and at Saarland University.

Translation from LNT to LOTOS

Participants : Hubert Garavel, Frédéric Lang, Wendelin Serwe.

In 2014, the translator from LNT to LOTOS was further improved. In addition to bug fixes and removal of incorrect warnings emitted by the translator itself or by the C compiler on the generated code, the following enhancements have been brought: the LNT language was extended with a “!representedby ” pragma for processes, and a “only if ” statement to concisely express guarded commands; the translator now performs static analysis and warns about unused variables, unused “in ” or “in out ” parameters, useless (deterministic or nondeterministic) assignments to variables, “in out ” parameters that are never assigned, and dubious synchronizations between processes; checks for underflow/overflow on natural and integer numbers are now activated by default. The translator also generates better LOTOS code, and the LNT reference manual was shortened and updated in many places.

Translation from LOTOS to Petri nets and C

Participants : Hubert Garavel, Wendelin Serwe.

The LOTOS compilers CAESAR and CAESAR.ADT, which were once the flagship of CADP, now play a more discrete role since LNT (rather than LOTOS) has become the recommended specification language of CADP. Thus, CAESAR and CAESAR.ADT are mostly used as back-end translators for LOTOS programs automatically generated from LNT or other formalisms such as Fiacre, and are only modified when this appears to be strictly necessary.

In 2014, the CAESAR compiler has been modified to tolerate LOTOS specifications that would be normally rejected under the ISO/IEC 8807 standard definition of LOTOS. The first change extends the visibility scope of local definitions when the global definitions are empty. The second change uses the type information of process definitions to better resolve overloading ambiguities in expressions passed as actual parameters to process calls.

Conversely, CAESAR was made stricter by rejecting at compile-time LOTOS specifications containing out-of-bound constants, even if such constants are never used.

Performance has been increased by adding or strengthening a number of optimizations concerning, e.g., internal data structures, Boolean guards that can be statically evaluated, values belonging to singleton sorts, disconnected or otherwise unreachable Petri net places and transitions, etc.

The CAESAR.BDD tool of CADP, which analyzes hierarchical Petri nets generated from higher-level specifications (e.g., LOTOS or LNT) has been significantly enhanced. The semantic model accepted by CAESAR.BDD has been made more general and given the new name of NUPN (Nested-Units Petri Nets). The definition and theoretical properties of NUPN have been formalized.

The textual syntax for NUPN has been extended with pragmas intended to retain useful properties of non-ordinary and/or non-safe Petri nets translated to NUPN. An XML syntax for NUPN (compatible with the ISO standard PNML for the representation of Petri nets) has been defined and adopted by the Model Checking Contest  ( ). A translator from PNML to NUPN has been developed at LIP6 (Paris, France).

The CAESAR.BDD tool has been updated accordingly, and extended to perform stricter checks and compute more structural and behavioral properties of NUPN models. CAESAR.BDD has been intensively used to correct the descriptions of the Model Checking Contest benchmarks: a first campaign (January-February 2014) detected 9 errors in structural properties and 8 errors in behavioral properties, and a second campaign (April 2014) revealed 23 more errors. CAESAR.BDD has also been used to automatically generate new benchmarks, together with their descriptions.

Translation from GRL to LNT

Participants : Fatma Jebali, Frédéric Lang, Eric Léo, Radu Mateescu.

In the context of the Bluesky project (see § ), we study the formal modeling of GALS (Globally Asynchronous, Locally Synchronous) systems, which are composed of several synchronous subsystems evolving cyclically, each at its own pace, and communicating with each other asynchronously. Designing GALS systems is challenging due to both the high level of (synchronous and asynchronous) concurrency and the heterogeneity of computations (deterministic and nondeterministic). To bring our formal verification techniques and tools closer to the GALS paradigm, we designed a new formal language named GRL (GALS Representation Language), as an intermediate format between GALS models and purely asynchronous concurrent models. GRL combines the main features of synchronous dataflow programming and asynchronous process calculi into one unified language, while keeping the syntax homogeneous for better acceptance by industrial GALS designers. GRL allows a modular composition of synchronous systems (blocks), environmental constraints (environments), and asynchronous communication mechanisms (mediums), to be described at a level of abstraction that is appropriate to verification. GRL also supports external C and LNT code.

In 2014, we have continued to enhance the syntax and the formal semantics of GRL. We have written a detailed research report (82 pages) [25] containing the complete definition of the syntax, static semantics, and dynamic semantics (in the form of structural operational semantics rules), and also illustrating the checking of dynamic semantics rules on several examples of GRL programs. A paper describing GRL has been published in an international conference [14] .

To equip GRL with verification features, we formally defined a translation from GRL to LNT. GRL blocks are translated into LNT functions, possibly encapsulated within LNT wrapper processes to enable asynchronous communication, whereas GRL environments and mediums are directly translated into LNT processes. The asynchronous composition of blocks, environments, and mediums is translated to an LNT parallel composition of the corresponding processes.

Using the SYNTAX and LOTOS NT compiler construction technology  [44] , we have developed a translator named GRL2LNT (about 25,000 lines of code), allowing an LNT program to be generated from a GRL specification automatically. GRL2LNT performs the lexical and syntactic analysis of GRL programs, together with almost all static semantic checks specified in its formal definition [25] . A stable version of GRL2LNT has been released in 2014. Additionally, we have developed an OPEN/CAESAR-compliant compiler GRL.OPEN (based on GRL2LNT and LNT.OPEN), which makes possible the on-the-fly exploration of the LTS underlying a GRL specification using CADP. We have also built a test base containing about 250 (correct and incorrect) GRL programs, and used it for non-regression testing of GRL2LNT. The correct GRL programs represent about 7,000 lines of code and produce about 18,000 lines of LNT code after translation using GRL2LNT.

A paper describing the formal verification of GALS systems using GRL and CADP, with a focus on the translation from GRL to LNT, has been submitted to an international conference [28] .

Coverage Analysis for LNT

Participants : Gwen Salaün, Lina Ye.

In the classic verification setting, the designer has a specification of a system in a value-passing process algebra, a set of temporal properties to be verified on the corresponding LTS model, and a data set of examples (test cases) for validation purposes. At this stage, building the set of validation examples and debugging the specification is a complicated task, in particular for non-experts.

We propose a new framework for debugging value-passing process algebra through coverage analysis and we illustrate our approach with LNT. We define several coverage notions before showing how to instrument the specification without affecting original behaviors. Our approach helps one to improve the quality of a data set of examples used for validation purposes, but also to find ill-formed decisions, dead code, and other errors in the specification. We have implemented a tool for automating our debugging approach, and applied it to several real-world case studies in different application areas.

In 2014, a paper has been accepted in an international conference [19] .

Other Language Developments

Participants : Hugues Evrard, Hubert Garavel, Frédéric Lang, Eric Léo, Wendelin Serwe.

The ability to compile and verify formal specifications with complex, user-defined operations and data structures is a key feature of the CADP toolbox since its very origins. A long-run effort has been recently undertaken to ensure a uniform treatment of types, values, and functions across all the various CADP tools.

In 2014, convergence between the LOTOS, LNT, BCG, and XTL data-type libraries has been increased by defining common libraries for eight predefined types: Boolean, Natural, Integer, Real, Character, String, Raw, and Gate. These libraries gather in the same place definitions of types, constants, and functions that were previously disseminated across different tools. Additionally, systematic checks for underflows and overflows have been set for the Natural and Integer types. Also, unprintable characters and C-like escape sequences are now uniformly handled by the Character, String, and Raw types.

To support the LNT language in the Emacs/XEmacs, jEdit, and Vim editors, configuration files have been added or updated, which provide for syntax highlighting/coloring, and enable autocompletion in Emacs using YASnippet.