An ACL2 proof of coherence of the German Cache Protocol. The protocol is translated directly into ACL2 from the murphy code provided in ccp.m. The proof involves formalizing coherence and strengthening the property into an inductive invariant.

The directory

This set of books define an invariant that is strong enough to verify the coherence of the German Cache Protocol. The proof shows how to come up with a sufficient inductive invariant by iterative strengthening starting from the desired base property. The proof also demonstrates how to define invariant predicates for multiprocess systems both using quantification over process indices and recursive functions, thus providing a tutorial demonstration of how to reason about concurrent protocols.

Anna Slobodova gave this problem to the author when she was looking for doing cache protocol proofs with ACL2. The key is that some predicates involved, especially the key coherence property, could be naturally stated as quantified formulas, and the question was how we could use the standard quantification approaches together with (possibly) recursive functions to derive a proof in the way the human would do.

I looked at the protocol and decided to do a proof on my own of the protocol in ACL2. Previously a similar proof was done in ACL2 via predicate abstraction, and this proof was primarily intended to show how predicate abstraction could save labor over a standard ACL2 proof. However, the ACL2 proof itself was not devoid of interest, since it showed how one typically iterates over a partial invariant to define a concrete inductive invariant for a protocol-level system. The proof did spring some surprises, for instance as documented in the definition of some fragments of the invariant required in the proof.

However, the chief contribution of the proof is to provide a tutorial introduction to coming up with an inductive invariant for a complicated multiprocess protocol. Towards this end, substantial on-the-fly commentary of the proof is provided in the form of comments, documenting the thought process involved in the proof.

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An ACL2 Proof of Coherence of the German Protocol

Copyright (C) 2006 Sandip Ray

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