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The theory of dynamic frames is a promising approach to handle the so-called framing problem, that is, giving a precise characterizations of the locations in the heap that a procedure may modify. In this paper, we show that the machinery used for dynamic frames may be exploited even further. In particular,  we use it to check that implementations of abstract data types  maintain certain structural invariants that are very hard to express with usual means, including being acyclic (like non-circular linked lists and trees) and having a unique path between nodes (like in a tree).

The idea is that regions in this formalism over-approximate the set of reachable objects. We can then maintain this structural invariants by including special preconditions in assignments, of the kind that can be verified by state-of-the-art SMT-based tools. To test this approach we modified the verifier for the  Dafny programming language in a suitable way and were able to enforce these invariants in non-trivial examples. 

The tool is based on the implementation of Dafny [http://boogie.codeplex.com/]. The tool and samples can be downloaded from here. Before running the tool, check the prerequisites from http://boogie.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=External%20Dependencies.

This site complements the Master of Sciences thesis of Ariel Neisen, tutored by Dr. Diego Garbervetsky and Dr. Daniel Gorín. The work was entirely conceived and programmed in the Department of Computer Sciences of the FCEN, Universidad de Buenos Aires.

Thesis document: Download