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Automating Formal Proofs for Reactive Systems (ucsd.edu)
74 points by jervisfm on June 22, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 5 comments



Hoping to read in detail later, but very interesting at first glance thanks!

Have thought for awhile that many systems would benefit from one or more "guard" components for which we have formal proofs that no bad things can happen - e.g. you write an equity trading application in Python, but route all the trades through a checker that ensures you aren't trading too much or too often [1].

[1] See Knight Capital 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_Capital_Group#2012_stock...


First, "no bad things can happen" is a very nebulous requirement. And you eventually just get into a "who watches the watchmen" kind of game.

I think the problem with a lot of ideas around making a "safe" algorithm for money matters, is that you basically just wind up defining the game that your "opponents" will now be playing against. That is, if you have your rules in the open, but they don't, then they are the ones controlling the game.

Consider, it is relatively easy to make money off of a casino. They just don't let you use the strategies that work. Which is fine if you can just boot off actors that you think aren't "playing well." Not so easy otherwise.


So one builds a model in Reflex based on the requirements, then tests that model. Even when the requirements are complete (which often they are not), the real life implementation afterwards may still bring zillions of problems (my own bugs, using a bad framework, whatever) which this model testing cannot catch... eh.


1) The code that users write in Reflex is the code that actually runs. This means that any guarantee about a Reflex program is a guarantee about the real life implementation of that program.

2) Reflex does not use testing to verify a user's code. Instead, Reflex automatically produces fully machine checkable proofs that user-provided code satisfies user-provided specifications. Machine checkable proofs (in a proof assistant) provide the strongest possible guarantee about one's code.


Interesting approach, I can see this being of great use, I will definitely take a closer look. also, nice video- especially the soccer references.




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