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

Formal Methods for Developing Algorithms and Systems

Participants : Manamiary Andriamiarina, Jingshu Chen, Marie Duflot-Kremer, Dominique Méry, Stephan Merz.

Incremental Development of Distributed Algorithms

Joint work with Mohammed Mosbah and Mohammed Tounsi from the LABRI laboratory in Bordeaux, France, and with Neeraj Kumar Singh from the Department of Computing and Software, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

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 underlying the VISIDIA toolkit developed at LABRI for designing distributed algorithms expressed as a set of rewriting rules over graph structures.

In particular, we show how state-based models can be developed for specific problems [22] 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 [24] , [12] , [42] . Our patterns simplify the development of distributed systems using refinement and temporal logic.

Modeling Medical Devices

Formal modelling techniques and tools [30] 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 [32] , we give the semantics of refinement diagrams that are used in a refinement-based methodology for complex medical systems design, which possesses all the required key features. A refinement-based approach relying on formal verification, model validation using a model-checker, and refinement charts is proposed in this methodology for designing a high-confidence medical device. We show the effectiveness of this methodology for the design of a cardiac pacemaker system. Moreover, we organized a Dagstuhl seminar on the Pacemaker Challenge [20] .

Analysis of Real-Time Concurrent Programs

Joint work with Nadezhda Baklanova, Jan-Georg Smaus, Wilmer Ricciotti, and Martin Strecker at IRIT Toulouse, France, and master student Jorge Ibarra Delgado, funded by the Airbus Foundation (see also section 7.1 ).

We investigate techniques for the formal verification of multi-threaded real-time programs. We assume that programs contain annotations that indicate the times for executing basic blocks, and that these annotations are enforced by the execution platform. Inspired by Safety-Critical Java [49] , our partners in Toulouse developed a formal semantics for a fragment of Java in Isabelle/HOL. We designed techniques for formally ensuring the absence of concurrent accesses to shared resources in bounded-length executions of such programs. Specifically, we generate constraints that characterize the possible execution orders of the program, and then invoke an SMT solver in order to verify that no execution violates precedence constraints that ensure absence of conflicts. In the case where such an execution exists, we obtain a trace that exhibits the access conflict. Our technique has been implemented prototypically, and appears to scale much better than a previous analysis based on an encoding of programs as timed automata. The results have been published at AVoCS 2014 [15] .

During his internship within the first year of the Erasmus Mundus master program on Dependable Software Systems, Jorge Ibarra Delgado investigated the possibility of adapting the JOP toolset for Safety-Critical Java, and in particular its Worst-Case Execution Time (WCET) analyzer, for obtaining suitable annotations for basic blocks.

Bounding Message Length in Attacks Against Security Protocols

Joint work with Myrto Arapinis from the University of Glasgow, 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 that, under a syntactic and reasonable condition of “well-formedness” on the protocol, we can get rid of the infinitely branching part. A journal version of this result, extending the set of security properties to which it is applicable and that particular includes authentication properties, has been published in Information and Computation [13] .

Evaluating and Verifying Probabilistic Systems

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 fulfills 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 fall outside the scope of model checking. In particular, it is often of interest 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 submitted. The first one presents the approach in details with a few illustrative applications. The second one focuses on biological applications, and more precisely the use of statistical model checking to detect and measure several indicators of oscillating biological systems.