An Integrated Specification and Verification Technique for Highly Concurrent Data Structures

Parosh Aziz Abdulla, Frédéric Haziza, Lukas Holik, Bengt Jonsson and Ahmed Rezine

We present a technique for automatically verifying safety properties of concurrent programs, in particular programs which rely on subtle dependen- cies of local states of different threads, such as lock-free implementations of stacks and queues in an environment without garbage collection. Our technique addresses the joint challenges of infinite-state specifications, an unbounded num- ber of threads, and an unbounded heap managed by explicit memory allocation. Our technique builds on the automata-theoretic approach to model checking, in which a specification is given by an automaton that observes the execution of a program and accepts executions that violate the intended specification. We extend this approach by allowing specifications to be given by a class of infinite-state au- tomata. We show how such automata can be used to specify queues, stacks, and other data structures, by extending a data-independence argument. For verifica- tion, we develop a shape analysis, which tracks correlations between pairs of threads, and a novel abstraction to make the analysis practical. We have imple- mented our method and used it to verify programs, some of which have not been verified by any other automatic method before.

In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Tools and Algorithms for the Construction and Analysis of Systems (TACAS 2013)