Hoare Logic and VDM: Machine-Checked Soundness and Completeness Proofs

Thomas Kleymann (formerly Schreiber)


Investigating soundness and completeness of verification calculi for imperative programming languages is a challenging task. Many incorrect results have been published in the past. We take advantage of the computer-aided proof tool LEGO to interactively establish soundness and completeness of both Hoare Logic and the operation decomposition rules of the Vienna Development Method (VDM) with respect to operational semantics. We deal with parameterless recursive procedures and local variables in the context of total correctness. As a case study, we use LEGO to verify the correctness of Quicksort in Hoare Logic.

As our main contribution, we illuminate the rôle of auxiliary variables in Hoare Logic. They are required to relate the value of program variables in the final state with the value of program variables in the initial state. In our formalisation, we reflect their purpose by interpreting assertions as relations on states and a domain of auxiliary variables. Furthermore, we propose a new structural rule for adjusting auxiliary variables when strengthening preconditions and weakening postconditions. This rule is stronger than all previously suggested structural rules, including rules of adaptation.

With the new treatment, we are able to show that, contrary to common belief, Hoare Logic subsumes VDM in that every derivation in VDM can be naturally embedded in Hoare Logic. Moreover, we establish completeness results uniformly as corollaries of Most General Formula theorems which remove the need to reason about arbitrary assertions.


This is a 252-page PhD thesis. It is available in the following

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