PhD defenses at the Faculty of Informatics

Controlled and Effective Interpolation

You are cordially invited to attend the PhD Dissertation Defense of Leonardo DE SA ALT on Friday, December 9th 2016 at 13h30 in room SI-008 (Informatics building)

Model checking is a well established technique to verify systems, exhaustively and automatically. The state space explosion, known as the main difficulty in model checking scalability, has been successfully approached by symbolic model checking which represents programs using logic, usually at the propositional or first order theories level.

Craig interpolation is one of the most successful abstraction techniques used in symbolic methods. Interpolants can be efficiently generated from proofs of unsatisfiability, and have been used as means of over-approximation to generate inductive invariants, refinement predicates, and function summaries.

However, interpolation is still not fully understood. For several theories it is only possible to generate one interpolant, giving the interpolation-based application no chance of further optimization via interpolation. For the theories that have interpolation systems that are able to generate different interpolants, it is not understood what makes one interpolant better than another, and how to generate the most suitable ones for a particular verification task.

The goal of this thesis is to address the problems of how to generate multiple interpolants for theories that still lack this flexibility in their interpolation algorithms, and how to aim at good interpolants.

This thesis extends the state-of-the-art by introducing novel interpolation frameworks for different theories. For propositional logic, this work provides a thorough theoretical analysis showing which properties are desirable in a labeling function for the Labeled Interpolation Systems framework (LIS). The Proof-Sensitive labeling function is presented, and we prove that it generates interpolants with the smallest number of Boolean connectives in the entire LIS framework. Two variants that aim at controlling the logical strength of propositional interpolants while maintaining a small size are given. The new interpolation algorithms are compared to previous ones from the literature in different model checking settings, showing that they consistently lead to a better overall verification performance.

The Equalities and Uninterpreted Functions (EUF)-interpolation system, presented in this thesis, is a duality-based interpolation framework capable of generating multiple interpolants for a single proof of unsatisfiability, and provides control over the logical strength of the interpolants it generates using labeling functions. The labeling functions can be theoretically compared with respect to their strength, and we prove that two of them generate the interpolants with the smallest number of equalities. Our experiments follow the theory, showing that the generated interpolants indeed have different logical strength. We combine propositional and EUF interpolation in a model checking setting, and show that the strength of the interpolation algorithms for different theories has to be aligned in order to generate smaller interpolants.

This work also introduces the Linear Real Arithmetic (LRA)-interpolation system, an interpolation framework for LRA. The framework is able to generate infinitely many interpolants of different logical strength using the duality of interpolants. The strength of the LRA interpolants can be controlled by a normalized strength factor, which makes it straightforward for an interpolation-based application to choose the level of strength it wants for the interpolants. Our experiments with the LRA-interpolation system and a model checker show that it is very important for the application to be able to fine tune the strength of the LRA interpolants in order to achieve optimal performance.

The interpolation frameworks were implemented and form the interpolation module in OpenSMT2, an open source efficient SMT solver. OpenSMT2 has been integrated to the propositional interpolation-based model checkers Fun-Frog and eVolCheck, and to the first order interpolation-based model checker HiFrog. This thesis presents real life model checking experiments using the novel interpolation frameworks and the tools aforementioned, showing the viability and strengths of the techniques.

Dissertation Committee:

  • Prof. Natasha Sharygina, UniversitÓ della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Research Advisor)
  • Prof. Fernando Pedone, UniversitÓ della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Internal Member)
  • Prof. Robert SoulÚ, UniversitÓ della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Internal Member)
  • Prof. Philipp RŘmmer, Uppsala University, Sweden (External Member)
  • Prof. Jan Kofron, Charles University, Czech Republic (External Member)