Formal Verification of an Industrial Safety-Critical Traffic Tunnel Control System
Over the last decades, significant progress has been made on formal techniques for software verification. However, despite this progress, these techniques are not yet structurally applied in industry. To reduce the well-known industry–academia gap, industrial case studies are much-needed, to demonstrate that formal methods are now mature enough to help increase the reliability of industrial software. Moreover, case studies also help researchers to get better insight into industrial needs.
This paper contributes such a case study, concerning the formal verification of an industrial, safety-critical traffic tunnel control system that is currently employed in Dutch traffic. We made a formal, process-algebraic model of the informal design of the tunnel system, and analysed it using mCRL2. Additionally, we deductively verified that the implementation adheres to its intended behaviour, by proving that the code refines our mCRL2 model, using VerCors. By doing so, we detected undesired behaviour: an internal deadlock due to an intricate, unlucky combination of timing and events. Even though the developers were already aware of this, and deliberately provided us with an older version of their code, we demonstrate that formal methods can indeed help to detect undesired behaviours within reasonable time, that would otherwise be hard to find.
This work is partially supported by the NWO VICI 639.023.710 Mercedes project and by the NWO TOP 612.001.403 VerDi project.
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