EDSLs for Unmanned Autonomous Verification and Validation

We have a new position paper on the use of EDSLs (LwDSLs) for verification and validation of unmanned vehicle avionics, written jointly with John van Enk of DornerWorks, recently presented at a mixed-criticality architecture conference. (Download) :: PDF

Lee Pike, Don Stewart, John Van EnkCPS Week 2009 Workshop on Mixed CriticalityRoadmap to Evolving UAV Certification

We outline a new approach to the verification and validation (V & V) of safety-critical avionics based on the use of executable lightweight domain specific languages – domain-specific languages hosted directly in an existing high-level programming language. We provide examples of LwDSLs used in industry today, and then we describe the advantages of LwDSLs in V & V. We argue the approach promises substantial automation and cost-reduction in V & V.

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Solving Sudoku Using Cryptol

Cryptol is a language tailored for cryptographic algorithms. Sudoku is a popular puzzle the reader¬† is no-doubt already familiar with. We will offer no deep reason why anyone should try to solve Sudoku in Cryptol; other than the very fact that it’d be a shame if we couldn’t!Needless to say, Cryptol has not been designed for encoding search algorithms. Nonetheless, some of the features of Cryptol and its associated toolset make it extremely suitable for expressing certain constraint satisfaction problems very concisely; and Sudoku very nicely falls into this category.

Representing the board

A Sudoku board can be represented in a variety of ways. We will pick the simplest: A sequence of 9 rows, each of which has 9 elements storing the digits. Each digit will require 4 bits; since they range from 1 to 9. So, a good Cryptol type for a board is:

  [9][9][4]

In Cryptol-speak, this type simply represents a sequence of precisely 9 elements, each of which is a sequence of 9 elements themselves, each of which are 4-bit words. (Technically, the type [4] also represents a sequence of precisely 4 elements, each of which are bits. But it’s easier to read that as 4-bit words. The type [4] and [4]Bit are synonymous in Cryptol, and can be used interchangeably in all contexts.)

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Equivalence and Safety Checking in Cryptol

The Cryptol language comes with an integrated verification tool-set that can automatically perform equivalence and safety checking on Cryptol programs. Recently, we have presented a paper on this topic at PLPV’09: “Programming Languages Meets Program Verification” workshop. (Slides are also available.)

Briefly, equivalence checking refers to the problem of proving that two functions have the exact same input/output behavior. Typically, these functions are versions of the same algorithm; one being a reference implementation and the other being an optimized version. Cryptol automatically establishes that the optimized version is precisely equivalent to the original. If the functions are not equivalent, Cryptol provides a counter-example where they disagree; aiding greatly in development/debugging.

Safety checking refers to the problem of proving that the execution of a function cannot raise any exceptions; such as division by zero; index out-of-bounds, etc. When the safety checker says that a function is safe, you will know for sure that such conditions will never arise at run-time. (Similarly, you will get a concrete counter-example from Cryptol if this is not the case.)

Cryptol uses symbolic simulation to translate equivalence and safety checking problems to equivalent problems using the bit-vector logic of SMT-Lib. Furthermore, Cryptol has built-in connections to several SAT/SMT solvers. It automatically calls these provers and presents the results to the user in original Cryptol terms; providing a seamless verification environment for the end-user.

The full paper and slides on equivalence checking in Cryptol are available for download.

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A Cryptol Implementation of Skein

Following on from the MD6-in-Cryptol posting, let’s consider another very interesting candidate from the (deep) pool of SHA-3 submissions; Skein 

 http://www.skein-hash.info/ http://www.schneier.com/skein.html

by the merry band of Ferguson, Lucks, Schneier, et al.The expression of their reference implementation comes out, we think, fairly cleanly in Cryptol. The digest output size is a variable parameter to the algorithm, but we’ll focus on the 512-bit version here — the submission’s primary candidate for SHA-3.In order to avoid duplicating the introductory material on Cryptol, we suggest the reader go through the MD6 writeup to get a grounding in Cryptol, its idioms, and syntax.

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MD6 in Cryptol

NIST is currently running a competition to come up with the next generation message hashing function that it intends to standardize and FIPS recommend upon completion (assuming one good candidate is left standing and well at the conclusion of the evaluation process):

 http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/ST/hash/sha-3/index.html

Apart from the need to come up with better alternatives to its current recommendation, the SHA-2 family of hashing functions, this competition draws inspiration from the success that the AES competition had a couple of years ago in engaging the community in coming up with a replacement for the DES block cipher. As then, a lot of new innovation has resulted.As with block ciphers, many common types of hashing functions lend themselves well to expression in Cryptol. To demonstrate some of the features of Cryptol and how it could be used to express SHA-3 candidates, here’s one of the submissions, MD6 from the CSAIL group at MIT, headed by Ronald L. Rivest:

 http://groups.csail.mit.edu/cis/md6/

The goal of this writeup is twofold:

  • Introduce you to the MD6 hashing algorithm and its construction.
  • Expose you to the Cryptol language, and how it lends itself to expressing MD6.

Ideally, you’ll come away with enthusiasm on both accounts!

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