Program Verification by Coinduction

Brandon Moore and Lucas Pena and Grigore Rosu
ESOP'18 Springer, pp 589-618, April 2018
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Abstract. We present a novel program verification approach based on coinduction, which takes as input an operational semantics. No intermediates like axiomatic semantics or verification condition generators are needed. Specifications can be written using any state predicates. We implement our approach in Coq, giving a certifying language-independent verification framework. Our proof system is implemented as a single module imported unchanged into language-specific proofs. Automation is reached by instantiating a generic heuristic with language-specific tactics. Manual assistance is also smoothly allowed at points the automation cannot handle. We demonstrate the power and versatility of our approach by verifying algorithms as complicated as Schorr-Waite graph marking and instantiating our framework for object languages in several styles of semantics. Finally, we show that our coinductive approach subsumes reachability logic, a recent language-independent sound and (relatively) complete logic for program verification that has been instantiated with operational semantics of languages as complex as C, Java and JavaScript.