Skip to main content

Validating Formal Semantics by Property-Based Cross-Testing

Bereczky, Péter, Horpácsi, Dániel, K?szegi, Judit, Szeier, Soma, Thompson, Simon (2021) Validating Formal Semantics by Property-Based Cross-Testing. In: Proceedings of the 32nd Symposium on Implementation and Application of Functional Languages (IFL ’20),. . pp. 150-161. ACM, New York, NY, USA ISBN 978-1-4503-8963-1. (doi:10.1145/3462172.3462200) (KAR id:89480)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English
Download (587kB)
[thumbnail of PUBLISHED.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL:


To describe the behaviour of programs in a programming language we can define a formal semantics for the language, and formalise it in a proof assistant. From this semantics we can derive the behaviour of each particular program in the language. But there remains the question of validating the formal semantics: have we got the formalisation right?

Our approach is to use property-based cross-testing of formal semantics, which is based on the combination of a number of existing approaches to validation. In particular, we give a concrete implementation of our ideas for a set of formalisations of Erlang and Core Erlang. We describe the adjustments that need to be made to execute these seman- tics, then we present and evaluate property-based testing in the context of cross-checking semantics, including random program generation and counterexample shrinking.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
DOI/Identification number: 10.1145/3462172.3462200
Uncontrolled keywords: formal semantics, validation, property-based testing, QuickCheck, Coq, K framework
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
Depositing User: S. Thompson
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2021 19:13 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 23:12 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Thompson, Simon:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year