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Communications of the ACM

The synthesis of loop predicates


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Current methods for mechanical program verification require a complete predicate specification on each loop. Because this is tedious and error prone, producing a program with complete, correct predicates is reasonably difficult and would be facilitated by machine assistance. This paper discusses techniques for mechanically synthesizing loop predicates. Two classes of techniques are considered: (1) heuristic methods which derive loop predicates from boundary conditions and/or partially specified inductive assertions: (2) extraction methods which use input predicates and appropriate weak interpretations to obtain certain classes of loop predicates by an evaluation on the weak interpretation.

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