A Formal Approach to Probabilistic Termination

  • Joe Hurd
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2410)


We present a probabilistic version of the while loop, in the context of our mechanised framework for verifying probabilistic programs. The while loop preserves useful program properties of measurability and independence, provided a certain condition is met. This condition is naturally interpreted as “from every starting state, the while loop will terminate with probability 1”, and we compare it to other probabilistic termination conditions in the literature. For illustration, we verify in HOL two example probabilistic algorithms that necessarily rely on probabilistic termination: an algorithm to sample the Bernoulli(p) distribution using coin-flips; and the symmetric simple random walk.


Random Walk Probabilistic Termination Probabilistic Algorithm Probabilistic Program Probabilistic Version 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joe Hurd
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeUK

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