Validating Arbitrarily Large Network Protocol Compositions with Finite Computation
Bradley, Adam D.
Kfoury, Assaf J.
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Formal tools like finite-state model checkers have proven useful in verifying the correctness of systems of bounded size and for hardening single system components against arbitrary inputs. However, conventional applications of these techniques are not well suited to characterizing emergent behaviors of large compositions of processes. In this paper, we present a methodology by which arbitrarily large compositions of components can, if sufficient conditions are proven concerning properties of small compositions, be modeled and completely verified by performing formal verifications upon only a finite set of compositions. The sufficient conditions take the form of reductions, which are claims that particular sequences of components will be causally indistinguishable from other shorter sequences of components. We show how this methodology can be applied to a variety of network protocol applications, including two features of the HTTP protocol, a simple active networking applet, and a proposed web cache consistency algorithm. We also doing discuss its applicability to framing protocol design goals and to representing systems which employ non-model-checking verification methodologies. Finally, we brieﬂy discuss how we hope to broaden this methodology to more general topological compositions of network applications.