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Date: 2013-06-28 07:55 am (UTC)
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (mathematics)
From: [personal profile] purplecat
It's the first. Model checking works a bit like exhaustive path coverage testing. So, for instance, if you have a multi-threaded program it will explore all possible thread-interleavings and make sure you have no deadlocks anywhere. Obviously it has massive issues with efficiency (and even feasibility).

It's called model checking because, outside a few fairly modern systems like Java pathfinder, you couldn't apply it to actual code, you had to create a model of your algorithm or protocol in the input language of the checker. Even with "program model checkers" such as Java Pathfinder, any time you have to worry about what a user will do, or parts of the overall system that aren't written in Java you basically have to model that part of the program in Java and then you test that the code works correctly in that model (but not necessarily in the real world).

One of the things we are pushing with the aircraft modelling, is working with the aircraft industry and certification authorities in the UK to attempt to agree on how Unmanned Aircraft should be certified for use in UK civilian airspace. One idea is that you restrict your verification results purely to the code part - so you prove things like "Assuming the sensor input is correct, the program will activate the right controls (even if those controls are broken and don't do what they should)" but the certification authorities (and aircraft manufacturers and designers - to be fair) really want the end results to be probabilistic estimates of the chance of catastrophic failure - so we want to be able to combine experimental results about the accuracy of sensors and the reliability of actuators with verification results about what actuators the program will use given which sensor inputs in order to generate an overall estimate of the chance of failure.
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