NASA Formal Methods

Volume 6617 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 131-145

Efficient Predicate Abstraction of Program Summaries

  • Arie GurfinkelAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon University
  • , Sagar ChakiAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon University
  • , Samir SapraAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon University


Predicate abstraction is an effective technique for scaling Software Model Checking to real programs. Traditionally, predicate abstraction abstracts each basic block of a program \(\mathcal{P}\) to construct a small finite abstract model – a Boolean program BP, whose state-transition relation is over some chosen (finite) set of predicates. This is called Small-Block Encoding (SBE). A recent advancement is Large-Block Encoding (LBE) where abstraction is applied to a “summarized” program so that the abstract transitions of BP correspond to loop-free fragments of \(\mathcal{P}\). In this paper, we expand on the original notion of LBE to promote flexibility. We explore and describe efficient ways to perform CEGAR bottleneck operations: generating and solving predicate abstraction queries (PAQs). We make the following contributions. First, we define a general notion of program summarization based on loop cutsets. Second, we give a linear time algorithm to construct PAQs for a loop-free fragment of a program. Third, we compare two approaches to solving PAQs: a classical AllSAT-based one, and a new one based on Linear Decision Diagrams (LDDs). The approaches are evaluated on a large benchmark from open-source software. Our results show that the new LDD-based approach significantly outperforms (and complements) the AllSAT one.