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Title: Object code verification
Author: Wahab, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0001 3550 4389
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1998
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Object code is a program of a processor language and can be directly executed on a machine. Program verification constructs a formal proof that a program correctly implements its specification. Verifying object code therefore ensures that the program which is to be executed on a machine is correct. However, the nature of processor languages makes it difficult to specify and reason about object code programs in a formal system of logic. Furthermore, a proof of the correctness of an object code program will often be too large to construct manually because of the size of object code programs. The presence of pointers and computed jumps in object code programs constrains the use of automated tools to simplify object code verification. This thesis develops an abstract language which is expressive enough to describe any sequential object code program. The abstract language supports the definition of program logics in which to specify and verify object code programs. This allows the object code programs of any processor language to be verified in a single system of logic. The abstract language is expressive enough that a single command is enough to describe the behaviour of any processor instruction. An object code program can therefore be translated to the abstract language by replacing each instruction with the equivalent command of the abstract language. This ensures that the use of the abstract language does not increase the difficulty of verifying an object code program. The verification of an object code program can be simplified by constructing an abstraction of the program and showing that the abstraction correctly implements the program specification. Methods for abstracting programs of the abstract language are developed which consider only the text of a program. These methods are based on describing a finite sequence of commands as a single, equivalent, command of the abstract language. This is used to define transformations which abstract a program by replacing groups of program commands with a single command. The abstraction of a program formed in this way can be verified in the same system of logic as the original program. Because the transformations consider only the program text, they are suitable for efficient mechanisation in an automated proof tool. By reducing the number of commands which must be considered, these methods can reduce the manual work needed to verify a program. The use of an abstract language allows object code programs to be specified and verified in a system of logic while the use of abstraction to simplify programs makes verification practical. As examples, object code programs for two different processors are modelled, abstracted and verified in terms of the abstract language. Features of processor languages and of object code programs which affect verification and abstraction are also summarised.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA76 Electronic computers. Computer science. Computer software