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A generic framework for symbolic execution: a coinductive approach. (English) Zbl 1356.68044
Summary: We propose a language-independent symbolic execution framework. The approach is parameterised by a language definition, which consists of a signature for the syntax and execution infrastructure of the language, a model interpreting the signature, and rewrite rules for the language’s operational semantics. Then, symbolic execution amounts to computing symbolic paths using a derivative operation. We prove that the symbolic execution thus defined has the properties naturally expected from it, meaning that the feasible symbolic executions of a program and the concrete executions of the same program mutually simulate each other. We also show how a coinduction-based extension of symbolic execution can be used for the deductive verification of programs. We show how the proposed symbolic-execution approach, and the coinductive verification technique based on it, can be seamlessly implemented in language definition frameworks based on rewriting such as the \(\mathbb{K}\) framework. A prototype implementation of our approach has been developed in \(\mathbb{K}\). We illustrate it on the symbolic analysis and deductive verification of nontrivial programs.

MSC:
68N30 Mathematical aspects of software engineering (specification, verification, metrics, requirements, etc.)
68Q55 Semantics in the theory of computing
68W30 Symbolic computation and algebraic computation
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