Verifying a Concurrent Garbage Collector Using a Rely-Guarantee Methodology

  • Yannick ZakowskiEmail author
  • David Cachera
  • Delphine Demange
  • Gustavo Petri
  • David Pichardie
  • Suresh Jagannathan
  • Jan Vitek
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10499)


Concurrent garbage collection algorithms are an emblematic challenge in the area of concurrent program verification. In this paper, we address this problem by proposing a mechanized proof methodology based on the popular Rely-Guarantee (RG) proof technique. We design a specific compiler intermediate representation (IR) with strong type guarantees, dedicated support for abstract concurrent data structures, and high-level iterators on runtime internals. In addition, we define an RG program logic supporting an incremental proof methodology where annotations and invariants can be progressively enriched.

We formalize the IR, the proof system, and prove the soundness of the methodology in the Coq proof assistant. Equipped with this IR, we prove a fully concurrent garbage collector where mutators never have to wait for the collector.



We thank the anonymous reviewers and Peter Gammie for their thorough comments and suggestions on how to improve the final version of the paper. We also thank Vincent Laporte for his work earlier in this project, and his help on implementing parts of the garbage collector presented here.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yannick Zakowski
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Cachera
    • 1
  • Delphine Demange
    • 2
  • Gustavo Petri
    • 3
  • David Pichardie
    • 1
  • Suresh Jagannathan
    • 4
  • Jan Vitek
    • 5
  1. 1.ENS Rennes – IRISA – InriaRennesFrance
  2. 2.Université Rennes 1 – IRISA – InriaRennesFrance
  3. 3.IRIF – Université Paris DiderotParisFrance
  4. 4.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  5. 5.Northeastern UniversityBostonUSA

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