property-prover: A tool to verify properies of Curry programs

This package contains a tool to verify various properties of Curry programs with a separate SMT solver. It combines and extends two previous tools for Curry, the contract-prover tool intended to statically verify contracts in the form of pre- and postcondition so that contract checks are not performed at run time, and the failfree tool intended to verify that all operations in a module are non-failing, i.e., their evaluation does not result in a failure if they are called with arguments satisfying the non-failing precondition of the operation.

Therefore, the ideas of each of these tools is separately described below.

Static contract verification

This tool tries to verify and adds contract checking to Curry programs by proving contracts with an SMT solver. If a proof is successful, no contract check will be performed at run time, otherwise a dynamic (strict) contract check will be added. The static verification of contracts has the advantage that the program is more reliable (if all contracts are verified) or the resulting program will run more efficiently compared to a program with dynamic contract checking only.

A detailed description of the ideas of this tool can be found in the [journal paper](}.

The contract verification tool can be invoked alone via

> currvy --no-failfree <Curry module>

This analyzes the FlatCurry code of the module, attempts to prove the contracts in this module (unless option --checkmode=a is set), and adds dynamic contract checking if a proof is not successful. Finally, the FlatCurry program is replaced by the transformed version (unless option --no-write is set). Hence, this tool might be integrated into the compilation chain of a Curry system. In addition to the transformation of the FlatCurry program, successful proofs will be stored in files so that they can be re-used by other tools. For instance, if the postcondition of an operation f defined in module M is verified, a file PROOF_M_f_SatisfiesPostCondition.smt is generated. This file contains the SMT script of this proof.

The directory examples/contracts contains various examples where the contract prover can eliminate all contracts at compile time.


In contrast to the first contract prover described in LOPSTR 2017 paper, which tried to remove contracts added by the Curry preprocessor, this version tries to verify contracts before they are added to the Curry program and adds dynamic checks only for unverified contracts (see the auxiliary operations defined in include/ContractChecker.curry).

The strategy is as follows:

  1. For each postcondition f'post, try to verify it. If this is not successful, a dynamic check is added to f.

  2. For each function call (f args), where a preconditon f'pre exists, try to verify this precondition in the given context of the call. If it cannot be verified, transform the function call into

    checkPreCond (f args) (f'pre args) "f" (args)

    See include/ContractChecker.curry for the definition of checkPreCond.


Basic idea of the fail-free verification tool:

The objective is this tool is to verify that all operations are non-failing, i.e., their evaluation does not result in a failure, if they are called with arguments satisfying the non-failing precondition of the operation.


-- The operation `head` does not fail if this precondition is satisfied:
head'nonfail xs = not (null xs)

head (x:xs) = x

Note that the non-failing precondition is not a precondition for head, i.e., it is still allowed to use head in a logical setting. However, it can be used to verify that the following operation is non-failing:

readCommand = do
  putStr "Input a command:"
  s <- getLine
  let ws = words s
  if null ws then readCommand
             else processCommand (head ws) (tail ws)

A detailed description can be found in the PPDP 2018 paper. Basically, the following techniques are used to verify non-failing properties:

  1. Test whether the operation is pattern-completely defined (i.e., branches on all patterns in all or-branches) for all inputs satisfying the non-failing precondition. If this is not the case, the operation is possibly failing.

  2. Test whether the operations called in the right-hand side are used with satisfied non-failing preconditions for all inputs satisfying the non-failing precondition.

  3. Test whether a call to Prelude.failed is unreachable, e.g., in

    abs x = if x>=0 then x
                    else if x<0 then (0 - x)
                                else failed

    Note that this might be the result translating the following definition:

    abs x | x>=0 = x
          | x<0  = 0 - x

    This requires reasoning on integer arithmetic, as supported by SMT solvers.

Depending on the state of the operation error, this could also avoid the occurrence of run-time errors:

readLine = do
  putStr "Input a non-empty string:"
  s <- getLine
  if null s then error "Empty input!"
            else do putStr "First char: "
                    putStrLn (head s)

If error is considered as an always failing operation (which is done if the option --error is set), readLine cannot be verified as non-failing. However, this requires also a careful analysis of all external operations (like readFile) which might raise exceptions.

Current restrictions:


Directories of the package: