24-26 September 2014

University of Twente, Enschede

14th International Workshop on Automated Verification of Critical Systems

Call for Papers

The aim of Automated Verification of Critical Systems (AVoCS) 2014 is to contribute to the interaction and exchange of ideas among members of the international research community on tools and techniques for the verification of critical systems. The subject is to be interpreted broadly and inclusively. It covers all aspects of automated verification, including model checking, theorem proving, SAT/SMT constraint solving, abstract interpretation, and refinement pertaining to various types of critical systems which need to meet stringent dependability requirements (safety-critical, business-critical, performance-critical, etc.). Contributions that describe different techniques, or industrial case studies are encouraged. The technical programme will consist of invited and contributed talks and also allow for short presentations of research ideas. The workshop will be relatively informal, with an emphasis on discussion.

There are student grants available in order to support PhD students who wish to participate in the workshop, see below for details.

Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Model Checking
  • Automatic and Interactive Theorem Proving
  • SAT, SMT or Constraint Solving for Verification
  • Abstract Interpretation
  • Specification and Refinement
  • Requirements Capture and Analysis
  • Verification of Software and Hardware
  • Specification and Verification of Fault Tolerance and Resilience
  • Probabilistic and Real-Time Systems
  • Dependable Systems
  • Verified System Development
  • Industrial Applications

The workshop will have three invited speakers:

  • Laura Kovács (Chalmers, Sweden) will speak about Symbol Elimination for Automated Generation of Program Properties.

    Abstract: Automatic understanding of the intended meaning of computer programs is a very hard problem, requiring intelligence and reasoning. In this talk we describe applications of our symbol elimination methods in automated proram analysis. Symbol elimination uses first-order theorem proving techniques in conjunction with symbolic computation methods, and derives nontrivial program properties, such as loop invariants and loopbounds, in a fully automatic way. Moreover, symbol elimination can be used as analternative to interpolation for software verification.

  • Alastair Donaldson (Imperial College, U.K.) will speak about Static Verification for GPU Kernels.

    Abstract: Graphics processing units (GPUs) are nowadays commonly used to accelerate general purpose computations. Because GPUs are massively parallel they can be hard to program correctly, and suffer from concurrency-related defects including data races. In the GPUVerify project we have been interested in applying static verification techniques to GPU kernels (the pieces of code that execute on GPU devices) in order to automatically find or prove absence of data races. I will describe the method we have designed to obtain an analysis method for parallel GPU kernels that scales to large numbers of threads, and will demo the GPUVerify tool in action on a number of examples. I will then discuss open problems for research in the area of reliability of data-parallel software. For an introduction to GPUVerify check out this video.

    This is joint work with current and previous members of the Multicore Programming Group at Imperial College London, and with Shaz Qadeer at Microsoft Research.

  • Guy Broadfoot (Silverdata Ltd., U.K.) will speak about The highs and lows of deploying Formal Methods in Industry.

    Abstract: I attended my first software conference in 1968; it was organised by NATO with the title "The Software Crisis." Many of the papers presented then could have been written yesterday; the problems of the software industry in producing reliable, correct software in the face of increasing complexity and shrinking time to market pressures have not fundamentally changed that much.

    In the intervening years as a community we have developed various tactics for trying to minimise software errors. Advances in theorem proving and model checking are good examples of systematic efforts to improve software correctness. Nevertheless, it remains the case that such approaches are rarely if ever encountered in the industrial workplace, with the possible exception of some safety critical domains, such as the software controlling nuclear power plants.

    In spite advances in formal methods and supporting tools, the tools available to programmers for verifying assertions about program execution are complex and require knowledge and skills that most practicing programmers do not have. Formal proofs remain difficult to construct, especially for anything but the simplest of programs. Merely constructing assertions to characterise program correctness is a difficult challenge.

    In 1998, I conceived the idea of combing model checking, code generation and the specification approach of Sequence-based Specification together to form an integrated software design platform for developing software components whose design (implementation) would be formally verified for correctness with respect to its specification. Other general correctness properties such as freedom from deadlocks, non-determinism, incomplete cases, etc. would also be verified. Verification would be performed by automatically translating Sequence-based specifications into semantically equivalent CSP process algebra and then applying the model-checking engine FDR2. After verification was completed, semantically equivalent source code would be generated in one of several supported high-level languages.

    These ideas were developed further together with Philippa Hopcroft and in 2003 a company was founded to develop a commercial implementation of a development platform based on these ideas. In this talk, I will present an overview of the development platform and the technologies used. I will then discuss the experience gained during 10 years of trying to introduce this approach into industry and the lessons learned along the way.

Important Dates

  • Submission (abstract for full paper): 23rd June 2014 (Extended)
  • Submission (full papers): 30th June 2014 (Extended)
  • Notification (full papers): 30th July 2014
  • Submission (research ideas): 11th August 2014
  • Notification (research ideas): 14th August 2014
  • Submission of final versions: 1st September 2014
  • Student grant application: 14th August 2014
  • Early registration: 1st September 2014
  • Workshop: 24-26th September 2014 (two and a half days, ends 26th lunchtime)

Submission Details

Full Papers: Submissions of full papers to the workshop must not have been published or be concurrently considered for publication elsewhere. All submissions will be peer-reviewed and judged on the basis of originality, contribution to the field, technical and presentation quality, and relevance to the workshop. Final versions of the papers must be written in English and not exceed 15 pages. For the initial submission you can use any format since the pre-proceedings will be a technical report. However, we suggest that you use the EASST template (see below for details) as this will make it easier later on.

Research ideas: AVoCS'14 encourages the submissions of research ideas in order to stimulate discussions at the workshop. Reports on ongoing work or surveys on work published elsewhere are welcome. The Programme Committee will select research ideas on the basis of submitted abstracts according to significance and general interest. Research ideas must be written in English and not exceed 2 pages.

Submission Site: The submission site is available through EasyChair.

Conference Proceedings & Special Journal Issue

At the workshop, pre-proceedings will be available in the form of a University of Twente Technical Report; this report will also include the research ideas.

After the workshop, the authors of accepted full papers will have about one month in order to revise their papers for publication in the workshop post-proceedings which will appear in the Electronic Communications of the EASST Open Access Journal. Research ideas will not be part of the proceedings in the Open Access Journal.

EASST Submission Format: There is a dedicated AVoCS 2014 EASST template, please go to EASST template repository and look for the AVoCS 2014 entry – this contains the LaTeX and Word templates that you will need for the conference post-proceedings.

We will invite authors of a selection of the best papers presented at the workshop to submit extended versions of their work for publication in a special issue of Elsevier's journal Science of Computer Programming.

Student Grants

Thanks to Formal Methods Europe, we offer a financial support for students registering for AVoCS in the form of a registration fee waiver (full or partial). Because our financial support is limited, we ask the students that would like to take the advantage of this support to submit a short application. The details on how to apply can be found on the Student Grants page.

Program Committee

Steering Committee

Organization Committee