On applying residual reasoning within neural network verification

Yizhak Yisrael Elboher*, Elazar Cohen, Guy Katz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As neural networks are increasingly being integrated into mission-critical systems, it is becoming crucial to ensure that they meet various safety and liveness requirements. Toward, that end, numerous complete and sound verification techniques have been proposed in recent years, but these often suffer from severe scalability issues. One recently proposed approach for improving the scalability of verification techniques is to enhance them with abstraction/refinement capabilities: instead of verifying a complex and large network, abstraction allows the verifier to construct and then verify a much smaller network, and the correctness of the smaller network immediately implies the correctness of the original, larger network. One shortcoming of this scheme is that whenever the smaller network cannot be verified, the verifier must perform a refinement step, in which the size of the network being verified is increased. The verifier then starts verifying the new network from scratch—effectively “forgetting” its earlier work, in which the smaller network was verified. Here, we present an enhancement to abstraction-based neural network verification, which uses residual reasoning: a process where information acquired when verifying an abstract network is utilized in order to facilitate the verification of refined networks. At its core, the method enables the verifier to retain information about parts of the search space in which it was determined that the refined network behaves correctly, allowing the verifier to focus on areas of the search space where bugs might yet be discovered. For evaluation, we implemented our approach as an extension to the Marabou verifier and obtained highly promising results.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalSoftware and Systems Modeling
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Abstraction refinement
  • Incremental reasoning
  • Neural networks
  • Residual reasoning
  • Verification


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