Model-checking Inherently Fair Linear-time Properties
Thierry Nicola, Frank Nießner and Ulrich Ultes-Nitsche
telecommunications, networks & security Research Group
Department of Computer Science, University of Fribourg
Chemin du Mus
ee 3, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
Abstract. The concept of linear-time verification with an inherent fairness con-
dition has been studied under the names approximate satisfaction, satisfaction up
to liveness, and satisfaction within fairness in several publications. Even though
proving the general applicability of the approach, reasonably efficient algorithms
for inherently fair linear-timeverification (IFLTV) are lacking. This paper bridges
the gap between the theoretical foundation of IFLTV and its practical application,
presenting a model-checking algorithm based on a structural analysis of the syn-
chronous product of the system and property (B
uchi) automata.
1 Introduction
To be able to verify liveness properties of a system [1], it is almost always necessary
to include a fairness hypothesis in the system description [3]. Indeed, introducing a
fairness hypothesis makes it possible to ignore behaviors that correspond to extreme
execution scenarios and that, in any case, would not occur in any reasonable implemen-
tation. Even though this intuition is clear, making fairness precise is somewhat more
complicated: should one be “weakly” or “strongly” fair, “transition” or “process” fair,
or isn’t “justice” or even “compassion” what fairness should really be [6]? Intuitively,
the notion to be formalized is that of a property being true provided one is given “some
control” over the choices made during infinite executions. In other words, one wants to
characterize the properties that can be made true by “some fair implementation” of the
Such a characterization has been given in previous years, leading to the exploring
linear-time verification with an inherent fairness condition. Inherently fair linear-time
verification (IFLTV) has been studied under the name approximate satisfaction [10],
satisfaction up to liveness [11], and satisfaction within fairness [12, 14,15]. All men-
tioned papers deal with the general concept of IFLTV [11] as well as the relation of
IFTLV to abstraction [10, 11] and partial-order methods [4, 16], and the combination
of the two state-space reduction techniques [15]. What has not yet been considered is
the actual implementation of IFLTV by means of a reasonably efficient model-checking
algorithm. Here, ”reasonably efficient“ refers to algorithms behaving not too badly on
Supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation under grant number 200021-103985/1
and by the Hasler Foundation under grant number 1922.
Nicola T., Nießner F. and Ultes-Nitsche U. (2005).
Model-checking Inherently Fair Linear-time Properties.
In Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Modelling, Simulation, Verification and Validation of Enterprise Information Systems, pages 3-8
DOI: 10.5220/0002574300030008
practical examples, since the general model-checking problem is PSPACE-complete
In this paper, we present a model-checking algorithm for IFLTV based on a struc-
tural analysis of the synchronous product of the two B
uchi automata representing sys-
tem and property respectively. The system will always be represented by a labeled tran-
sition system (deterministic B
uchi automaton in which all states are accepting) where
the property, in the most general case, will require a non-deterministic B
uchi automaton
to represent it. We will start with the case in which the property automaton is determinis-
tic, and develop the IFLTV model-checking algorithm for this case. Deterministic B
automata cover already all safety and many liveness properties [1,7]. We will then dis-
cuss how to extend the result for the deterministic case to inherently non-deterministic
properties. Finally we will comment on the additional effort of IFLTV of inherently
non-deterministic properties.
2 Motivation
The motivation for IFLTV is twofold: first, IFLTV possesses an inherent fairness con-
dition, and second, IFLTV related to observable differences in system behavior.
2.1 Inherent Fairness
Consider the following “telecommunications” system: two users of the system may call
one another; if the called user is not busy, the call will reach her/him; otherwise the
call is rejected. A calling user has no control of whether the called user is engaged in
another call (busy) or not. Such a system is normally modeled by a nondeterministic
choice: whenever a user attempts to call another user, the system model decides non-
deterministically whether the called user is busy or not. In such a scenario, there exists
the extreme execution in which, whenever a user is called, the user is busy. Such exe-
cutions are normally ignored by using an explicit fairness assumption [3] restricting the
allowed executions of the system. Applying IFLTV frees one from the need of finding
an explicit fairness restriction on the system model by having a fairness assumption
inherent in its definition.
2.2 Observability
Assume two systems, both randomly selecting initially an unbounded positive integer
n. The first system will operate n steps and then stop. The second system will either
operate n steps and stop, or decide nondeterministically to operate forever. An outside
observer will never be able to distinguish the two systems: if a system has stopped,
it may be either system; if it has not stopped, it may again be either system. Only
infinite observations could distinguish the two systems which is apparently practically
impossible. So, system one is as good as system two from that point of view. Linear-time
verification, however, distinguishes the two systems as one system does not satisfy the
property “performing only finitely many operations” where the other one does. IFLTV
is as powerful as linear-time verification, but insensitive to differences requiring infinite
observations. We therefore consider IFLTV the more practical verification technique.
3 Preliminaries
The behavior of a distributed system is a set of infinitely long sequences of actions from
a finite set Σ of actions. Thus behaviors are ω-languages on Σ. Since each (infinite)
behavior is the infinite continuation of finite behaviors of the distributed system, and
since each prefix of a finite behavior is itself a finite behavior of the system, the set of
behaviors of a distributed system is the Eilenberg-limit [2] of a prefix-closed language.
Let Σ
be the set of all finitely long sequences on Σ, let Σ
be the set of all
infinitely long sequences, and let Σ
= Σ
. Let L Σ
pre(M) = {v Σ
| x Σ
: vx M } is the set of all finite prefixes of
. Then pre(x) = pre({x}) is that of x Σ
L is prefix-closed if and only if pre(L) = L.
lim(L) = {x Σ
w pre(x) : w L} is the Eilenberg-limit of language
L [2,13].
A property P on Σ is a subset of Σ
. Behaviour lim(L) satisfies property P (writ-
ten: “lim(L) P ”) if and only if lim(L) P [1].
cont(w, M ) = {v Σ
| wv M} is the leftquotient of M Σ
by w Σ
To introduce an implicit fairness assumption into the satisfaction relation, relative
liveness properties [5, 11] are defined as a satisfaction relation of properties [10, 11].
This satisfaction relation is called inherently fair linear-time verification (IFLTV) rela-
tion in this paper. There are three different ways of defining IFLTV. Two are important
regarding this paper and are presented subsequently:
1. lim(L) satisfies inherently fair P Σ
(written: lim(L) P ”) if and only if
w pre(lim(L)) : x cont(w, lim(L)) : wx P .
2. lim(L) P if and only if pre(lim(L)) = pre(lim(L) P ).
From the second definition it follows that we can check the IFLTV relation by exam-
ining the automaton representing lim(L)P . Since pre(lim(L)) pre(lim(L)P is
always true, we only have to find a condition ensuring pre(lim(L)) pre(lim(L)P .
Will we examine this condition subsequently for the case in which P is represented by
a deterministic B
uchi automaton. We use B as a shorthand for behavior lim(L), which
is always deterministic.
We construct subsequently the automaton A
representing the intersection of
behavior and property (the so-called synchronous product automaton) for the case of
deterministic P . This yields an IFLTV model-checking algorithm for the deterministic
It is important to note that dealing only with languages is not a restriction since finite au-
tomata can completely (including state information) be encoded by their local languages [2]
(the languages over transition triples (state, event, successorstate)).
Read “
... : ...” as “there exist infinitely many different ... such that ...”.
4 Construction of A
It must be guaranteed during construction of the product automaton that B P re-
mains valid. It is necessary to modify the classic algorithm of the synchronous product
construction. The additional feature ensures that the result automaton does not violate
B P , or if it does that it is detected. Let A
= (Q
, Σ, q
, F
) the automaton
representing the behaviour and A
= (Q
, Σ, p
, F
) the one of the properties.
The construction creates first the new initial state (q
, p
) of the product automaton
. Then for every transition (q
, a, q
, where q
is the initial state, a Σ
and q
, there must be a transition (p
, a, p
, where p
the initial state of
, a Σ and p
. If that does not hold, we abort, because B 6P . Otherwise
we add the state (q
, p
) and the transition ((q
, p
), a, (q
, p
)) to A
We continue that process of adding new states and transitions until the product au-
tomaton A
is complete (no more states and transistions can be added), or we have
found that for a state (q, p) in A
, there is a transition (q, a, q
without a
matching transition (p, a, p
. The accepting states (q, p) in A
are those
where q is an accepting state of A
and p is an accepting state of A
Only if the above construction could be completed, B 6 P potentially holds true
and we have to continue exploring the graph structure of A
5 Model Checking IFLTV by Exploring Strongly Connected
Components of A
Our algorithm is based on a structural analysis of the graph representing A
. We
partition the graph into its maximal Strongly Connected Components and Strongly Con-
nected Bottom Components:
A strongly connected component (SCC) is a set of nodes of a graph such that for
any two nodes v
and v
in the SCC are paths from v
to v
and vice versa.
An SCC is maximal if and only if by adding any addition node to the SCC, the
resulting set of nodes is not an SCC anymore.
A strongly connected bottom component (SCBC) is an SCC such that no node out-
side the SCBC can reached from nodes within the SCBC. Note that SCBC are
always maximal.
The model-checking algorithm that we aiming at can now be stated by the following
Theorem 1. B P if and only if A
can be constructed as described in the previ-
ous section and all SCBC of A
contain at least one accepting state.
Proof. ’: We assume that if A
cannot be constructed as defined in the previous
chapter or it contains at least one SCBC without any accepting state, then B 6 P :
Let (q, p) be a state produced during the construction of A
which causes the
construction to stop. Then there is a transition (q, a, q
) in A
without a matching
transition (p, a, p
) in A
. Let w be a string along a path from (q
, p
) to (q, p) in
the partially constructed A
. Then wa is in pre(B) but not in pre(B P ). Hence
B 6 P .
If the construction of A
completed, but it contains an SCBC without accepting
states, then let w be a string along a path in A
leading into that SCBC. Then w is
in pre(B) but not in pre(B P ). Hence B 6 P .
’: We assume B 6 P and show that either A
cannot be constructed as
defined in the previous chapter or it contains at least one SCBC without any accepting
If B 6 P then there exists a string w which is in pre(B) but not in pre(B P ).
Hence w either does not exist along a path from the initial state in A
at all — then
the construction of A
did not complete — or w cannot be continued within A
to reach infinitely often an accepting state which implies that there is an SCBC
without accepting states in which continuing w is trapped.
6 The Non-deterministic Case
As in general, there exist properties requiring non-deterministic B
uchi automata to rep-
resent them, the model checking algorithm resulting from the previous section does not
cover all cases. It seems to be likely that the loss of information when determinising
is insignificant with respect to IFLTV, i.e. we probably can determinise A
and then decide B 6 P as presented in the previous section. This is, however, only a
conjecture that we have not proved yet.
7 Conclusion
We presented a model-checking procedure for inherently fair linear-time verification
(IFLTV) based on an analysis of strongly connected components in the synchronous
product automaton for the behavior and property. We could show that model checking
with repsect to IFLTV can, in the case in which the property can be represented by a
deterministic B
uchi automaton, be reduced to checking that constructing the synchro-
nous product automaton does not ignore any transitions present in the automaton of the
behavior, and that the product automaton does not contain strongly connected bottom
components without accepting states.
For the case of non-deterministic B
uchi properties we conjectured that the con-
struction should be similar — however, a proof of this conjecture is part of future work.
Additional future work will be experiments with an implementation of the discussed
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