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Automating Event-B invariant proofs by rippling and proof patching


The use of formal method techniques can contribute to the production of more reliable and dependable systems. However, a common bottleneck for industrial adoption of such techniques is the needs for interactive proofs. We use a popular formal method, called Event-B, as our working domain, and set invariant preservation (INV) proofs as targets, because INV proofs can account for a significant proportion of the proofs requiring human interactions. We apply an inductive theorem proving technique, called rippling, for Event-B INV proofs. Rippling automates proofs using meta-level guidance. The guidance is in particular useful to develop proof patches to recover failed proof attempts. We are interested in the case when a missing lemma is required. We combine a scheme-based theory-exploration system, called IsaScheme [MRMDB10], with rippling to develop a proof patch via lemma discovery. We also develop two new proof patches to unfold operator definitions and to suggest case-splits, respectively. The combined use of rippling with these three proof patches as a proof method significantly improves the proof automation for our evaluation set.


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This work is supported by EPSRC Grants EP/H024204/1, EP/E005713/1, EP/M018407/1 and EP/J001058/1.We warmly thank OmarMontano Rivas for his support on IsaScheme.We also thank anonymous referees for their helpful suggestions.

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Correspondence to Yuhui Lin.

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Communicated by Michael Butler

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Lin, Y., Bundy, A., Grov, G. et al. Automating Event-B invariant proofs by rippling and proof patching. Form Asp Comp 31, 95–129 (2019).

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  • Formal verification
  • Event-B
  • Automated reasoning
  • Rippling
  • Lemma conjecturing