Model checking of safety properties

Orna Kupferman, Moshe Y. Vardi

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

87 Scopus citations


Of special interest in formal verification are safety properties, which assert that the system always stays within some allowed region. Proof rules for the verification of safety properties have been developed in the proof-based approach to verification, making verification of safety properties simpler than verification of general properties. In this paper we consider model checking of safety properties. A computation that violates a general linear property reaches a bad cycle, which witnesses the violation of the property. Accordingly, current methods and tools for model checking of linear properties are based on a search for bad cycles. A symbolic implementation of such a search involves the calculation of a nested fixed-point expression over the system's state space, and is often infeasible. Every computation that violates a safety property has a finite prefix along which the property is violated. We use this fact in order to base model checking of safety properties on a search for finite bad prefixes. Such a search can be performed using a simple forward or backward symbolic reachability check. A naive methodology that is based on such a search involves a construction of an automaton (or a tableau) that is doubly exponential in the property. We present an analysis of safety properties that enables us to prevent the doubly-exponential blow up and to use the same automaton used for model checking of general properties, replacing the search for bad cycles by a search for bad prefixes.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationComputer Aided Verification - 11th International Conference, CAV 1999, Proceedings
EditorsNicolas Halbwachs, Doron Peled, Doron Peled
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)3540662022, 9783540662020
StatePublished - 1999
Event11th International Conference on Computer Aided Verification, CAV 1999 - Trento, Italy
Duration: 6 Jul 199910 Jul 1999

Publication series

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


Conference11th International Conference on Computer Aided Verification, CAV 1999

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999.


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