From boolean to quantitative notions of correctness Conference Paper


Author(s): Henzinger, Thomas A
Title: From boolean to quantitative notions of correctness
Affiliation IST Austria
Abstract: Classical formalizations of systems and properties are boolean: given a system and a property, the property is either true or false of the system. Correspondingly, classical methods for system analysis determine the truth value of a property, preferably giving a proof if the property is true, and a counterexample if the property is false; classical methods for system synthesis construct a system for which a property is true; classical methods for system transformation, composition, and abstraction aim to preserve the truth of properties. The boolean view is prevalent even if the system, the property, or both refer to numerical quantities, such as the times or probabilities of events. For example, a timed automaton either satisfies or violates a formula of a real-time logic; a stochastic process either satisfies or violates a formula of a probabilistic logic. The classical black-and-white view partitions the world into "correct" and "incorrect" systems, offering few nuances. In reality, of several systems that satisfy a property in the boolean sense, often some are more desirable than others, and of the many systems that violate a property, usually some are less objectionable than others. For instance, among the systems that satisfy the response property that every request be granted, we may prefer systems that grant requests quickly (the quicker, the better), or we may prefer systems that issue few unnecessary grants (the fewer, the better); and among the systems that violate the response property, we may prefer systems that serve many initial requests (the more, the better), or we may prefer systems that serve many requests in the long run (the greater the fraction of served to unserved requests, the better). Formally, while a boolean notion of correctness is given by a preorder on systems and properties, a quantitative notion of correctness is defined by a directed metric on systems and properties, where the distance between a system and a property provides a measure of "fit" or "desirability." There are many ways how such distances can be defined. In a linear-time framework, one assigns numerical values to individual behaviors before assigning values to systems and properties, which are sets of behaviors. For example, the value of a single behavior may be a discounted value, which is largely determined by a prefix of the behavior, e.g., by the number of requests that are granted before the first request that is not granted; or a limit value, which is independent of any finite prefix. A limit value may be an average, such as the average response time over an infinite sequence of requests and grants, or a supremum, such as the worst-case response time. Similarly, the value of a set of behaviors may be an extremum or an average across the values of all behaviors in the set: in this way one can measure the worst of all possible average-case response times, or the average of all possible worst-case response times, etc. Accordingly, the distance between two sets of behaviors may be defined as the worst or average difference between the values of corresponding behaviors. In summary, we propagate replacing boolean specifications for the correctness of systems with quantitative measures for the desirability of systems. In quantitative analysis, the aim is to compute the distance between a system and a property (or between two systems, or two properties); in quantitative synthesis, the objective is to construct a system that has minimal distance from a given property. Multiple quantitative measures can be prioritized (e.g., combined lexicographically into a single measure) or studied along the Pareto curve. Quantitative transformations, compositions, and abstractions of systems are useful if they allow us to bound the induced change in distance from a property. We present some initial results in some of these directions. We also give some potential applications, which not only generalize tradiditional correctness concerns in the functional, timed, and probabilistic domains, but also capture such system measures as resource use, performance, cost, reliability, and robustness.
Keywords: quantitative synthesis; Quantitative Specification; Quantitative Analysis
Conference Title: POPL: Principles of Programming Languages
Conference Dates: January 20-22, 2010
Conference Location: Madrid, Spain
Publisher: ACM  
Location: New York, NY, USA
Date Published: 2010-01-01
Start Page: 157
End Page: 158
Sponsor: SIGPLAN ACM Special Interest Group on Programming Languages
DOI: 10.1145/1706299.1706319
Notes: This talk surveys joint work with Roderick Bloem, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Laurent Doyen, and Barbara Jobstmann.
Open access: no
IST Austria Authors
  1. Thomas A. Henzinger
    415 Henzinger
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