A Short Counterexample Property for Safety and Liveness Verification of Fault-tolerant Distributed Algorithms
Distributed algorithms have many mission-critical applications ranging from embedded systems and replicated databases to cloud computing. Due to asynchronous communication, process faults, or network failures, these algorithms are difficult to design and verify. Many algorithms achieve fault tolerance by using threshold guards that, for instance, ensure that a process waits until it has received an acknowledgment from a majority of its peers. Consequently, domain-specific languages for fault-tolerant distributed systems offer language support for threshold guards.
We introduce an automated method for model checking of safety and liveness of threshold-guarded distributed algorithms in systems where the number of processes and the fraction of faulty processes are parameters. Our method is based on a short counterexample property: if a distributed algorithm violates a temporal specification, then there is a counterexample whose length is bounded and independent of the parameters. We prove this property by (i) characterizing executions depending on the structure of the temporal formula, and (ii) using commutativity of transitions to accelerate and shorten executions. We extended the ByMC toolset (Byzantine Model Checker) with our technique, and verified liveness and safety of 10 prominent fault-tolerant distributed algorithms, most of which were out of reach for existing techniques.
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A Short Counterexample Property for Safety and Liveness Verification of Fault-tolerant Distributed AlgorithmsDOI Pre-print
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Julien LangeImperial College London, Nicholas NgImperial College London, Bernardo ToninhoImperial College London, Nobuko YoshidaImperial College London, UKPre-print