On the limits of refinement-testing for model-checking CSP

Research paper by Toby Murray

Indexed on: 29 Jul '11Published on: 29 Jul '11Published in: Formal Aspects of Computing


Refinement-checking, as embodied in tools like FDR, PAT and ProB, is a popular approach for model-checking refinement-closed predicates of CSP processes. We consider the limits of this approach to model-checking these kinds of predicates. By adopting Clarkson and Schneider’s hyperproperties framework, we show that every refinement-closed denotational predicate of finitely-nondeterministic, divergence-free CSP processes can be written as the conjunction of a safety predicate and the refinement-closure of a liveness predicate. We prove that every safety predicate is refinement-closed and that the safety predicates correspond precisely to the CSP refinement checks in finite linear observations models whose left-hand sides (i.e. specification processes) are independent of the systems to which they are applied. We then show that there exist important liveness predicates whose refinement-closures cannot be expressed as refinement checks in any finite linear observations model \({\mathcal{M}}\), divergence-strict model \({\mathcal{M}^\Downarrow}\) or non-divergence-strict divergence-recording model \({\mathcal{M}^\#}\), i.e. in any standard CSP model suitable for reasoning about the kinds of processes that FDR can handle, namely finitely-branching ones. These liveness predicates include liveness properties under intuitive fairness assumptions, branching-time liveness predicates and non-causation predicates for reasoning about authority. We conclude that alternative verification approaches, besides refinement-checking, currently under development for CSP should be further pursued.