Parameterised verification of randomised distributed systems using state-based models.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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Model checking is a powerful technique for the verification of distributed systems but is limited to verifying systems with a fixed number of processes. The verification of a system for an arbitrary number of processes is known as the parameterised model checking problem and is, in general, undecidable. Parameterised model checking has been studied in depth for non-probabilistic distributed systems. We extend some of this work in order to tackle the parameterised model checking problem for distributed protocols that exhibit probabilistic behaviour, a problem that has not been widely addressed to date.
In particular, we consider the application of network invariants and explicit induction to the parameterised verification of state-based models of randomised distributed systems. We demonstrate the use of network invariants by constructing invariant models for non-probabilistic and probabilistic forms of a simple counter token ring protocol. We show that proving properties of the invariants equates to proving properties of the token ring protocol for any number of processes.
The use of induction is considered for the verification of a class of randomised distributed systems. These systems, termed degenerative, have the property that a model of a system with given communication graph eventually behaves like a model of a system with a reduced graph, where reduction is by removal of a set of nodes. We distinguish between deterministically, probabilistically and semi-degenerative systems, according to the manner in which a system degenerates. For the former two classes we describe induction schemas for reasoning about models of these systems over arbitrary communication graphs. We show that certain properties hold for models of such systems with any graph if they hold for all models of a system with some base graph and demonstrate this via case studies: two randomised leader election protocols. We illustrate how induction can also be employed to prove properties of semi-degenerative systems by considering a simple gossip protocol.
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