Formal Methods

Faculty(APGDST)@ncst.ernet.in

Deficiencies of less formal approaches
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Contradictions Ambiguities Vagueness Incompleteness

Formal methods in SE

What to formalize?  Models of requirements knowledge (so we can reason)  Specifications of requirements (so we can document precisely)  Specifications of program design (verify correctness) Why formalize?  Removes ambiguity and improves precision  Verify that the requirements have been met

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Why people do not formalize?
Formal methods tend to be low level (too much detail)  Formal methods concentrate on consistent and correct models  Formal methods require more efforts and the payoff is deferred

Mathematics in SE
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It describes situation Exactly. It provides a smooth transition between software engineering activities It supports abstraction. It is ideal tool to model It provides high level of validation

Formal Specification Languages

Operational
specification is an executable abstraction  Good for rapid prototyping  Example languages include Lisp, Prolog, and Smalltalk

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State-based
view program as data structures and states  Use pre and post conditions to specify procedures  Examples include VDM and Z

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Algebraic
view program as data structures and operations  Operations are defined declaratively using axioms  Examples include Larch and CLEAR

Formal Method Concepts

Data invariant

A condition that holds true for the duration of the program The stored data that the system accesses and alters Action that takes place in a system Has preconditions and postconditions Precondition circumstances under which operation is valid Postcondition what happens when a operation is complete

State

Operations
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Example

Computer memory block handler
Files in a computer are composed of memory blocks  The system will maintain a set of unused and used blocks  When blocks are released from a deleted file they are placed in a queue of blocks awaiting to be added to the unused set

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Data invariant for this system expressed in a natural language
No block will be simultaneously marked as used and free  All the blocks in the queue will be subsets of the collection of currently used blocks  No elements in the queue will contain the same block numbers  The collection of used and free blocks will be the total collection of blocks that make up files

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The collection of free blocks will have no duplicates  The collection of used blocks will have no duplicates

Operations include
Add blocks to the end of the queueR  Remove blocks from front of queue and add to free set  Check whether the queue of block is empty

Mathematical Preliminaries

Sets  e.g. {C++, Pascal, Ada, COBOL, Java} {n:N | n < 3}  # {C++, Pascal, Ada, COBOL, Java}=5 Set Operators
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12 ∈ {6, 1, 12, 27}, 11 ∉ {6, 1, 12, 27} A ⊂ B , A ∩ B, φ ∩ B, φ ∪ B, {1,2} Χ {1,2,3}

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Logical Operators

∧ and, ∨ or, ¬ Not, ⇒ implies ∀ For all e.g. {(1,Kumar),(2,Gopal), (3,Seeta)} head, tail, last, front

Universal quantification

Sequences
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Applying Mathematical Notation
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used, free: P BLOCKS BlockQueue : seq P BLOCK Data Variant:
Used ∩ free = φ ∧  Used ∩ free = AllBlocks ∧  ∀ i : dom BlockQueue* BlockQueue i ⊆ used ∧  ∀ I, j : dom BlockQueue * i ≠ j ⇒ BlockQueue i ∩ BlockQueue j = φ

Block Operations

Precondition

#BlockQueue > 0

Post condition
used’ = used \ head BlockQueue∧  free’ =free ∪ head BlockQueue ∧  BlockQueue’ = tail BlockQueue

Summary of Z Notation

Sets
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S:PX x∈S x∉S S⊆T

S is declared as a set of Xs. x is member of S. x is not member of S. S is subset of T:Every member of s is also in T. S∪T The Union Of S and T : It contains every member of S or T and both. S∩T The intersection of S and T : It contains every member of both S and T

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S\T

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Φ {x} Ν S:FX Max(S)

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The difference of S and T : it contains every member of S except those in T. Empty set. Singleton set The set of natural numbers 0, 1, 2 … S is declared as a finite set of Xs. The maximum of the nonempty set of numbers S

Functions
ƒ:X dom ƒ Y ƒ is declared as a partial injection from X to Y The domain of ƒ: the set of values x for which ƒ(x) is defined The range of ƒ: the set of values taken by ƒ(x) as x varies over the domain of ƒ. A function that agrees with ƒ except that x is mapped to y. A function like ƒ, except that x is removed from its domain

ran ƒ

ƒ⊕{x → y} {x}  ƒ

Logic
P∧Q P⇒Q P⇔Q P and Q: if both true P and are true P implies Q: it is true if either Q is true or P is false Equivalence P if and only Q

θ S′ = θ S No component of schema S change in an operation

Ten Commandments of Formal Methods
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Choose the appropriate notation Do not over-formalize Estimate costs Have a formal methods guru on call Do not abandon traditional development methods

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Document sufficiently Do not compromise quality standards

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Do not be dogmatic in assuming formal specifications are flawless Use of formal methods does not eliminate the need to test products Reuse is still important