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SHORT DESCRIPTION

An exercise in formal program verification


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ASSET PROFILE

UNIT NAME
PENDEMO
VERSION
STARS-AC-A023/006/00, 26-FEB94
ORIGIN
ASSET
REVIEW CODE
OK
INET ADDRESS
librarian@source.asset.com
AUTHOR
Douglas Hoover, Maryl M. McCullough
UNISYS
RIGHTS
Approved for public release; distribution unlimited
COPYRIGHT
1994 UNISYS
LOCATION
ASSET
PAL

FILE LISTING

Directory Display


languages/ada/docs/penelope/pendemo:
  File Name                 Size
  ---------                 ----
  README                   2,777
  pendemo.zip             66,973


Totals
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    2 Files               69,750

ABSTRACT

Verifying Launch Interceptor Routines with the Asymptotic Method Using
Penelope

     This report describes the results of an exercise in formal program
verification conducted at ORA. In this exercise, we started with code
written by students at Syracuse University as part of work conducted by
Professor Amrit Goel on program development methods.  The code was an
implementation of the routines of the Launch Interceptor Program (LIP),
a specification of a protocol for launching an interceptor missile.
     The exercise consisted of specifying the routines using the
asymptotic method and verifying a number of them using Penelope. The
asymptotic method is a relatively simple approach to specification and
verification of numerical programs that takes account of numerical error
without quantifying it.  It is important to take account of numerical
error, even if it is small, because even a small error can change the
result of a numerical program if it is a discontinuous function of the
input.  All non-constant discrete-valued (integer or Boolean) functions
of real number arguments are discontinuous, and many real-valued
functions appearing in geometry are discontinuous at certain degenerate
configurations. When a specification, like the LIP specification, does
not say anything quantitative about permissible error, the asymptotic
method is the appropriate way to formalize that specification.  The
asymptotic method exposes problems of this kind, without requiring any
more work than is necessary for that purpose.  Classical error analysis
will expose similar problems and give quantitative measures of how bad
they are, but also requires more effort and expertise.
     This verification exercise had the following results.

   1. A number of weaknesses in the specification were found regarding
the treatment of near-degenerate geometrical situations. We adopted what
seemed to be a reasonable solution to these problems and adapted the
programs accordingly.

   2. Some problems were found with the programs in that they used
discontinuous formulas to compute continuous quantities, creating
problems dealing with exceptions and permitting unpredictable results
near singularities.

   3. A few other errors were found in the programs.  In particular, in
one place an incorrect formula was used and in another uninitialized
variables were read.

   4. Considering the effect of error cast doubt on the method that
Knight and Leveson used to test programs for faults, and on their
evaluation of some program variants as faulty.

   5. We outlined a development method for numerical programs that would
appear to address the problems exposed by this verification exercise.


REVISION HISTORY

STARS-AC-A023/006/00  1 June 94  Initial release to the PAL


RELEASE NOTICE

Approved for public release; Distribution unlimited


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