Thesis Defense: A Symbolic Approach towards Constraint Based Software Verification

Hello ACM!

It’s that time of the year again: we are all invited to attend the following Master’s thesis defense this Friday. More information below!

I’d like to invite all CS faculty, graduate students, and staff to Shubhra Datta’s Master’s thesis defense, this Friday, September 9, at 9 a.m. in the CS conference Room (CS 221).

An abstract of her thesis is provided below. The complete document can be found at



Verification and validation (V&V) are two components of the software engineering process that are critical to achieve reliability that can account for up to 50% of the cost of software development [20]. Numerous techniques ranging from formal proofs to testing methods exist to verify whether programs conform to their specifications. Recently, constraint programming techniques for V&V have emerged [15,20]: they use the idea of proof by contradiction. They typically aim at proving that the code is inconsistent with the negation of the specification, which means that the software conforms to its specifications. Although the framework seems straightforward, the number of generated constraints can be high and the solving process tedious.

In this work, we propose ideas for improvement based on symbolic manipulation of the constraints to be solved. Our approach differs from the current approach in its way to determine the compliance of the code with respect to its specification. Instead of using numeric solvers, we designed symbolic techniques to check compliance between the code and its specification.

We analyzed how much practical the approach is if the program is correct and if the program is incorrect: can we make the verification process faster by applying our rules? CPBPV: a Constraint-Programming Framework for Bounded Program Verification [21], the work done by H. Collavizza,  M. Rueher, and P. Hentenryck is the inspiration for our work.

We established that our approach is feasible, and our experimental results prove that our proposed method is a promising addition to the existing framework to eliminate some of the basic challenges associated with constraint-based software verification.

Thesis Committee:
Dr. Martine Ceberio (Chair),
Dr. Vladik Kreinovich, and
Dr. Virgilio Gonzalez

CoProD v 2.011, Constraint Programming and Decision Making Workshop

CoProD’11 is the fourth edition of CoProD. It will be held at UTEP, El Paso, Texas, on March 17, 2011

Constraint programming techniques are important components of intelligent systems. They constitute a declarative and efficient methodology to represent and solve many practical problems. They have been applied successfully to a number of fields, such as scheduling of air traffic, software engineering, networks security, chemistry, and biology. Despite the proved usefulness of these techniques, they are still under-utilized in real-life applications. One reason is the perceived lack of effective communication between constraint programming experts and domain practitioners about constraints, in general, and their use in decision making, in particular.

CoProD’11 will be held on March 17, 2011, right before NAFIPS’11 (March 18-20) at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Texas

Interested in attending? Check out all the registration information and schedules on their web page.

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