Dr. David J. Pearce

Reflections on Verifying Software with Whiley

Author(s). David J. Pearce and Lindsay Groves.

Venue. In Workshop on Formal Techniques for Safety-Critical Systems (FTSCS), pages 142--159, 2013. ©Springer

Abstract: An ongoing challenge for computer science is the development of a tool which automatically verifies that programs meet their specifications, and are free from runtime errors such as divide-by-zero, array out-of-bounds and null dereferences. Several impressive systems have been developed to this end, such as ESC/Java and Spec#, which build on existing programming languages (e.g. Java, C#). Unfortunately, such languages were not designed for this purpose and this significantly hinders the development of practical verification tools for them. For example, soundness of verification in these tools is compromised (e.g. arithmetic overflow is ignored). We have developed a programming language specifically designed for verification, called Whiley, and an accompanying verifying compiler. In this paper, we reflect on a number of challenges we have encountered in developing a practical system.

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