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Verification of real-time systems: improving tool support

Gomez, Rodolfo (2006) Verification of real-time systems: improving tool support. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86456) (KAR id:86456)


We address a number of limitations of Timed Automata and real-time model-checkers, which undermine the reliability of formal verification. In particular, we focus on the model-checker Uppaal as a representative of this technology. Timelocks and Zeno runs represent anomalous behaviours in a timed automaton, and may invalidate the verification of safety and liveness properties. Currently, model-checkers do not offer adequate support to prevent or detect such behaviours. In response, we develop new methods to guarantee timelock-freedom and absence of Zeno runs, which improve and complement the existent support. We implement these methods in a tool to check Uppaal specifications. The requirements language of model-checkers is not well suited to express sequence and iteration of events, or past computations. As a result, validation problems may arise during verification (i.e., the property that we verify may not accurately reflect the intended requirement). We study the logic PITL, a rich propositional subset of Interval Temporal Logic, where these requirements can be more intuitively expressed than in model-checkers. However, PITL has a decision procedure with a worst-case non-elementary complexity, which has hampered the development of efficient tool support. To address this problem, we propose (and implement) a translation from PITL to the second-order logic WS1S, for which an efficient decision procedure is provided by the tool MONA. Thanks to the many optimisations included in MONA, we obtain an efficient decision procedure for PITL, despite its non-elementary complexity. Data variables in model-checkers are restricted to bounded domains, in order to obtain fully automatic verification. However, this may be too restrictive for certain kinds of specifications (e.g., when we need to reason about unbounded buffers). In response, we develop the theory of Discrete Timed Automata as an alternative formalism for real-time systems. In Discrete Timed Automata, WS1S is used as the assertion language, which enables MONA to assist invariance proofs. Furthermore, the semantics of urgency and synchronisation adopted in Discrete Timed Automata guarantee, by construction, that specifications are free from a large class of timelocks. Thus, we argue that well-timed specifications are easier to obtain in Discrete Timed Automata than in Timed Automata and most other notations for real-time systems.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86456
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: QA 76 Software, computer programming
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 76 Software, computer programming,
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 13:53 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 14:50 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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