Soft contract verification
Proceedings of the 19th ACM SIGPLAN international conference on Functional programming - ICFP '14
Behavioral software contracts are a widely used mechanism for governing the flow of values between components. However, run-time monitoring and enforcement of contracts imposes significant overhead and delays discovery of faulty components to run-time. To overcome these issues, we present soft contract verification, which aims to statically prove either complete or partial contract correctness of components, written in an untyped, higher-order language with first-class contracts. Our approach
... es higher-order symbolic execution, leveraging contracts as a source of symbolic values including unknown behavioral values, and employs an updatable heap of contract invariants to reason about flow-sensitive facts. We prove the symbolic execution soundly approximates the dynamic semantics and that verified programs can't be blamed. The approach is able to analyze first-class contracts, recursive data structures, unknown functions, and control-flow-sensitive refinements of values, which are all idiomatic in dynamic languages. It makes effective use of an off-the-shelf solver to decide problems without heavy encodings. The approach is competitive with a wide range of existing tools---including type systems, flow analyzers, and model checkers---on their own benchmarks.