Date: 25 May 2006

Translation validation

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Abstract

We present the notion of translation validation as a new approach to the verification of translators (compilers, code generators). Rather than proving in advance that the compiler always produces a target code which correctly implements the source code (compiler verification), each individual translation (i.e. a run of the compiler) is followed by a validation phase which verifies that the target code produced on this run correctly implements the submitted source program. Several ingredients are necessary to set up the — fully automatic — translation validation process, among which are:

  1. A common semantic framework for the representation of the source code and the generated target code.

  2. A formalization of the notion of “correct implementation” as a refinement relation.

  3. A syntactic simulation-based proof method which allows to automatically verify that one model of the semantic framework, representing the produced target code, correctly implements another model which represents the source.

These, and other ingredients are elaborated in this paper, in which we illustrate the new approach in a most challenging case. We consider a translation (compilation) from the synchronous multi-clock data-flow language Signal to asynchronous (sequential) C-code.

This research was done as part of the European Community project SACRES (EP 20897) and was supported in part by the Minerva Foundation and an infrastructure grant from the Israeli Ministry of Sciences and Art.