Implicit dynamic frames: Combining dynamic frames and separation logic

Jan Smans, Bart Jacobs, Frank Piessens
[doi] [ISBN] [Google Scholar] [DBLP] [Citeseer]
Read: 14 February 2020

ECOOP 2009 -- Object-Oriented Programming
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Berlin, Heidelberg
Pages 148-172
Topic(s): tools verification
Note(s): permission logic, separation logic, implicit dynamic frames
Papers: ohearn:cacm:2019, jacobs:nfm:2011

Permission logics are Hoare-style logics for reasoning about heap allocated data structures and whether a piece of code has permission to access a given part of the structure. Their particular strength is the ability to reason about the lack of aliases – drawing on ideas from linear logic. The best known permission logic is separation logic; another permission logic is dynamic frames. This paper tackles the problem that dynamic frames have a high annotation overhead because of the need to define and manipulate “frame annotations” for each method. Their solution is to infer the frame information directly from the access assertions in the pre/post-conditions of functions.

A large part of what makes this more concise is that, in a tool like VeriFast, I have to write access predicates and (pure) expresssions separately. For example, given a pointer “p” to a pair with fields “lo” and “hi”, I might write a predicate

p->lo ↦ ?l &∗& p->hi ↦ ?h &∗& l ≤ h

To say that I have access to the lo field and its value is “l” and I have access to the hi field and its value is “h” and “l ≤ h”. But, this seems a bit verbose compared with

p->lo ≤ p->hi

Which, just by mentioning “p->lo” and “p->hi” implies that they are accessible.

The ideas in this paper were implemented in the “VeriCool” tool for verifying concurrent object-oriented languages.