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Horn clause solvers for program verification

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Abstract

Automatic program verification and symbolic model checking tools interface with theorem proving technologies that check satisfiability of formulas. A theme pursued in the past years by the authors of this paper has been to encode symbolic model problems directly as Horn clauses and develop dedicated solvers for Horn clauses. Our solvers are called Duality, HSF, SeaHorn, and μZ and we have devoted considerable attention in recent papers to algorithms for solving Horn clauses. This paper complements these strides as we summarize main useful properties of Horn clauses, illustrate encodings of procedural program verification into Horn clauses and then highlight a number of useful simplification strategies at the level of Horn clauses. Solving Horn clauses amounts to establishing Existential positive Fixed-point Logic formulas, a perspective that was promoted by Blass and Gurevich.

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Bjørner, N., Gurfinkel, A., McMillan, K., & Rybalchenko, A. (2015). Horn clause solvers for program verification. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) (Vol. 9300, pp. 24–51). Springer Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23534-9_2

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