A framework for inherent vacuity

Dana Fisman*, Orna Kupferman, Sarai Sheinvald-Faragy, Moshe Y. Vardi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Vacuity checking is traditionally performed after model checking has terminated successfully. It ensures that all the elements of the specification have played a role in its satisfaction by the design. Vacuity checking gets as input both design and specification, and is based on an in-depth investigation of the relation between them. Vacuity checking has been proven to be very useful in detecting errors in the modeling of the design or the specification. The need to check the quality of specifications is even more acute in property-based design, where the specification is the only input, serving as a basis to the development of the system.Current work on property assurance suggests various sanity checks, mostly based on satisfiability, non-validity, and realizability, but lacks a general framework for reasoning about the quality of specifications. We describe a framework for inherent vacuity, which carries the theory of vacuity in model checking to the setting of property-based design. Essentially, a specification is inherently vacuous if it can be mutated into a simpler equivalent specification, which we show to coincide with the fact the specification is satisfied vacuously in all systems. We also study the complexity of detecting inherent vacuity, and conclude that while inherent vacuity leads to specifications that better capture designer intent, it is not more complex than simple property-assurance checks.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationHardware and Software
Subtitle of host publicationVerification and Testing - 4th International Haifa Verification Conference, HVC 2008, Proceedings
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2009
Event4th International Haifa Verification Conference, HVC 2008 - Haifa, Israel
Duration: 27 Oct 200830 Oct 2008

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume5394 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference4th International Haifa Verification Conference, HVC 2008


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