Tools and Algorithms for the Construction and Analysis of Systems

Volume 2619 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 2-17


Automatic Abstraction without Counterexamples

  • Kenneth L. McMillanAffiliated withCadence Design Systems
  • , Nina AmlaAffiliated withCadence Design Systems


A method of automatic abstraction is presented that uses proofs of unsatisfiability derived from SAT-based bounded model checking as a guide to choosing an abstraction for unbounded model checking. Unlike earlier methods, this approach is not based on analysis of abstract counterexamples. The performance of this approach on benchmarks derived from microprocessor verification indicates that SAT solvers are quite effective in eliminating logic that is not relevant to a given property. Moreover, benchmark results suggest that when bounded model checking successfully terminates, and the problem is unsatisfiable, the number of state variables in the proof of unsatisfiability tends to be small. In almost all cases tested, when bounded model checking succeeded, unbounded model checking of the resulting abstraction also succeeded.