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  1. Compositionality is at the core of programming languages research and has become an important goal toward scalable verification of large systems. Despite that, there is no compositional account of linearizability, the gold standard of correctness for concurrent objects. In this paper, we develop a compositional semantics for linearizable concurrent objects. We start by showcasing a common issue, which is independent of linearizability, in the construction of compositional models of concurrent computation: interaction with the neutral element for composition can lead to emergent behaviors, a hindrance to compositionality. Category theory provides a solution for the issue in the form of the Karoubi envelope. Surprisingly, and this is the main discovery of our work, this abstract construction is deeply related to linearizability and leads to a novel formulation of it. Notably, this new formulation neither relies on atomicity nor directly upon happens-before ordering and is only possible because of compositionality, revealing that linearizability and compositionality are intrinsically related to each other. We use this new, and compositional, understanding of linearizability to revisit much of the theory of linearizability, providing novel, simple, algebraic proofs of the locality property and of an analogue of the equivalence with observational refinement. We show our techniques canmore »be used in practice by connecting our semantics with a simple program logic that is nonetheless sound concerning this generalized linearizability.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 9, 2024
  2. Real-time systems power safety-critical applications that require strong isolation among each other. Such isolation needs to be enforced at two orthogonal levels. On the micro-architectural level, this mainly involves avoiding interference through micro-architectural states, such as cache lines. On the algorithmic level, this is usually achieved by adopting real-time partitions to reserve resources for each application. Implementations of such systems are often complex and require formal verification to guarantee proper isolation. In this paper, we focus on algorithmic isolation, which is mainly related to scheduling-induced interferences. We address earliest-deadline-first (EDF) partitions to achieve compositionality and utilization, while imposing constraints on tasks' periods and enforcing budgets on these periodic partitions to ensure isolation between each other. The formal verification of such a real-time OS kernel is challenging due to the inherent complexity of the dynamic priority assignment on the partition level. We tackle this problem by adopting a dynamically constructed abstraction to lift the reasoning of a concrete scheduler into an abstract domain. Using this framework, we verify a real-time operating system kernel with budget-enforcing EDF partitions and prove that it indeed ensures isolation between partitions. All the proofs are mechanized in Coq.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 31, 2023
  3. Finding the right abstraction is critical for reasoning about complex systems such as distributed protocols like Paxos and Raft. Despite a recent abundance of impressive verification work in this area, we claim the ways that past efforts model distributed state are not ideal for protocol-level reasoning: they either hide important details, or leak too much complexity from the network. As evidence we observe that nearly all of them avoid the complex, but important issue of reconfiguration. Reconfiguration's primary challenge lies in how it interacts with a protocol's core safety invariants. To handle this increased complexity, we introduce the Adore model, whose novel abstract state hides network-level communications while capturing dependencies between committed and uncommitted states, as well as metadata like election quorums. It includes first-class support for a generic reconfiguration command that can be instantiated with a variety of implementations. Under this model, the subtle interactions between reconfiguration and the core protocol become clear, and with this insight we completed the first mechanized proof of safety of a reconfigurable consensus protocol.
  4. Timing predictability is a precondition for successful communication over a covert timing channel. Real-time systems are particularly vulnerable to timing channels because real-time applications can easily have temporal locality due to limited uncertainty in schedules. In this paper, we show that real-time applications can create hidden information flow even when the temporal isolation among the time partitions is strictly enforced. We then introduce an online algorithm that randomizes time-partition schedules to reduce the temporal locality, while guaranteeing the schedulability of, and thus the temporal isolation among, time partitions. We also present an analysis of the cost of the randomization on the responsiveness of real-time tasks. From an implementation on a Linux-based real-time operating system, we validate the analysis and evaluate the scheduling overhead as well as the impact on an experimental real-time system.
  5. Large-scale software verification relies critically on the use of compositional languages, semantic models, specifications, and verification techniques. Recent work on certified abstraction layers synthesizes game semantics, the refinement calculus, and algebraic effects to enable the composition of heterogeneous components into larger certified systems. However, in existing models of certified abstraction layers, compositionality is restricted by the lack of encapsulation of state. In this paper, we present a novel game model for certified abstraction layers where the semantics of layer interfaces and implementations are defined solely based on their observable behaviors. Our key idea is to leverage Reddy's pioneer work on modeling the semantics of imperative languages not as functions on global states but as objects with their observable behaviors. We show that a layer interface can be modeled as an object type (i.e., a layer signature) plus an object strategy. A layer implementation is then essentially a regular map, in the sense of Reddy, from an object with the underlay signature to that with the overlay signature. A layer implementation is certified when its composition with the underlay object strategy implements the overlay object strategy. We also describe an extension that allows for non-determinism in layer interfaces. After formulating layermore »implementations as regular maps between object spaces, we move to concurrency and design a notion of concurrent object space, where sequential traces may be identified modulo permutation of independent operations. We show how to express protected shared object concurrency, and a ticket lock implementation, in a simple model based on regular maps between concurrent object spaces.« less
  6. Memory models play an important role in verified compilation of imperative programming languages. A representative one is the block-based memory model of CompCert---the state-of-the-art verified C compiler. Despite its success, the abstraction over memory space provided by CompCert's memory model is still primitive and inflexible. In essence, it uses a fixed representation for identifying memory blocks in a global memory space and uses a globally shared state for distinguishing between used and unused blocks. Therefore, any reasoning about memory must work uniformly for the global memory; it is impossible to individually reason about different sub-regions of memory (i.e., the stack and global definitions). This not only incurs unnecessary complexity in compiler verification, but also poses significant difficulty for supporting verified compilation of open or concurrent programs which need to work with contextual memory, as manifested in many previous extensions of CompCert. To remove the above limitations, we propose an enhancement to the block-based memory model based on nominal techniques; we call it the nominal memory model. By adopting the key concepts of nominal techniques such as atomic names and supports to model the memory space, we are able to 1) generalize the representation of memory blocks to any types satisfyingmore »the properties of atomic names and 2) remove the global constraints for managing memory blocks, enabling flexible memory structures for open and concurrent programs. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the nominal memory model, we develop a series of extensions of CompCert based on it. These extensions show that the nominal memory model 1) supports a general framework for verified compilation of C programs, 2) enables intuitive reasoning of compiler transformations on partial memory; and 3) enables modular reasoning about programs working with contextual memory. We also demonstrate that these extensions require limited changes to the original CompCert, making the verification techniques based on the nominal memory model easy to adopt.« less
  7. Despite recent advances, guaranteeing the correctness of large-scale distributed applications without compromising performance remains a challenging problem. Network and node failures are inevitable and, for some applications, careful control over how they are handled is essential. Unfortunately, existing approaches either completely hide these failures behind an atomic state machine replication (SMR) interface, or expose all of the network-level details, sacrificing atomicity. We propose a novel, compositional, atomic distributed object (ADO) model for strongly consistent distributed systems that combines the best of both options. The object-oriented API abstracts over protocol-specific details and decouples high-level correctness reasoning from implementation choices. At the same time, it intentionally exposes an abstract view of certain key distributed failure cases, thus allowing for more fine-grained control over them than SMR-like models. We demonstrate that proving properties even of composite distributed systems can be straightforward with our Coq verification framework, Advert, thanks to the ADO model. We also show that a variety of common protocols including multi-Paxos and Chain Replication refine the ADO semantics, which allows one to freely choose among them for an application's implementation without modifying ADO-level correctness proofs.
  8. Since the introduction of CompCert, researchers have been refining its language semantics and correctness theorem, and used them as components in software verification efforts. Meanwhile, artifacts ranging from CPU designs to network protocols have been successfully verified, and there is interest in making them interoperable to tackle end-to-end verification at an even larger scale. Recent work shows that a synthesis of game semantics, refinement-based methods, and abstraction layers has the potential to serve as a common theory of certified components. Integrating certified compilers to such a theory is a critical goal. However, none of the existing variants of CompCert meets the requirements we have identified for this task. CompCertO extends the correctness theorem of CompCert to characterize compiled program components directly in terms of their interaction with each other. Through a careful and compositional treatment of calling conventions, this is achieved with minimal effort.