Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Research highlights

Technical Perspective: Ironfleet Simplifies Proving Safety and Liveness Properties

As with claims about beauty, claims about system correctness are relative to expectations. Such expectations for a computing system are called specifications. And while claims about beauty are necessarily subjective ("in the eye of the beholder"), claims about correctness need not be—they can be conveyed as proofs in a formal logic, which can be communicated to anyone and then independently checked.

Whether a given correctness claim is useful will depend on how completely the specification characterizes a system's behaviors. Obviously, we are limited by what can be said using our specification language and what specifications can be proved using our formal logic. Over the last half-century, a consensus has emerged that specifying sets of behaviors called trace properties is a sweet spot. Trace properties suffice for describing most of the important aspects of a system's behaviors. Moreover, trace properties for a system are straightforward to deduce from trace properties for its components, so we can reason about trace properties compositionally.


No entries found

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.