Domain-Type-Guided Refinement Selection Based on Sliced Path Prefixes
Abstraction is a successful technique in software verification, and interpolation on infeasible error paths is a successful approach to automatically detect the right level of abstraction in counterexample-guided abstraction refinement. Because the interpolants have a significant influence on the quality of the abstraction, and thus, the effectiveness of the verification, an algorithm for deriving the best possible interpolants is desirable. We present an analysis-independent technique that
... s it possible to extract several alternative sequences of interpolants from one given infeasible error path, if there are several reasons for infeasibility in the error path. We take as input the given infeasible error path and apply a slicing technique to obtain a set of error paths that are more abstract than the original error path but still infeasible, each for a different reason. The (more abstract) constraints of the new paths can be passed to a standard interpolation engine, in order to obtain a set of interpolant sequences, one for each new path. The analysis can then choose from this set of interpolant sequences and select the most appropriate, instead of being bound to the single interpolant sequence that the interpolation engine would normally return. For example, we can select based on domain types of variables in the interpolants, prefer to avoid loop counters, or compare with templates for potential loop invariants, and thus control what kind of information occurs in the abstraction of the program. We implemented the new algorithm in the open-source verification framework CPAchecker and show that our proof-technique-independent approach yields a significant improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of the verification process.