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Effective Program Verification for Relaxed Memory Models

Summary: Effective Program Verification
for Relaxed Memory Models
Sebastian Burckhardt and Madanlal Musuvathi
Microsoft Research
Abstract. Program verification for relaxed memory models is hard. The
high degree of nondeterminism in such models challenges standard veri-
fication techniques. This paper proposes a new verification technique for
the most common relaxation, store buffers. Crucial to this technique is
the observation that all programmers, including those who use low-lock
techniques for performance, expect their programs to be sequentially con-
sistent. We first present a monitor algorithm that can detect the presence
of program executions that are not sequentially consistent due to store
buffers while only exploring sequentially consistent executions. Then, we
combine this monitor with a stateless model checker that verifies that
every sequentially consistent execution is correct. We have implemented
this algorithm in a prototype tool called Sober and present experiments
that demonstrate the precision and scalability of our method. We find re-
laxed memory model bugs in several programs, including two previously
unknown bugs in a production-level concurrency library that would have
been difficult to find by other means.


Source: Ábrahám, Erika - Fachgruppe Informatik, Rheinisch Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH)


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences