Probabilistic symbolic model checking with PRISM: a hybrid approach

Special section on tools and algorithms for the construction and analysis of systems

DOI: 10.1007/s10009-004-0140-2

Cite this article as:
Kwiatkowska, M., Norman, G. & Parker, D. Int J Softw Tools Technol Transfer (2004) 6: 128. doi:10.1007/s10009-004-0140-2


In this paper we present efficient symbolic techniques for probabilistic model checking. These have been implemented in PRISM, a tool for the analysis of probabilistic models such as discrete-time Markov chains, continuous-time Markov chains and Markov decision processes using specifications in the probabilistic temporal logics PCTL and CSL. Motivated by the success of model checkers such as SMV which use BDDs (binary decision diagrams), we have developed an implementation of PCTL and CSL model checking based on MTBDDs (multi-terminal BDDs) and BDDs. Existing work in this direction has been hindered by the generally poor performance of MTBDD-based numerical computation, which is often substantially slower than explicit methods using sparse matrices. The focus of this paper is a novel hybrid technique which combines aspects of symbolic and explicit approaches to overcome these performance problems. For typical examples, we achieve a dramatic improvement over the purely symbolic approach. In addition, thanks to the compact model representation using MTBDDs, we can verify systems an order of magnitude larger than with sparse matrices, while almost matching or even beating them for speed.


Probabilistic model checking Symbolic model checking Binary decision diagrams 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Kwiatkowska
    • 1
  • Gethin Norman
    • 1
  • David Parker
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations