63 entries tagged with #Contracts
by Claire Dross
Handling Aliasing through Pointers in SPARK
As I explained in a blog post a couple of years ago, pointers are subjected to a strict ownership policy in SPARK. It prevents aliasing and allows for an efficient formal verification model. Of course, it comes at the cost of restrictions which might not be applicable to all usage. In particular, while ownership makes it possible to represent certain recursive data-structures, those involving cycles or sharing are de-facto forbidden. This is a choice, and not every proof tool did the same. For example, the WP plug-in of Frama-C supports pointers with arbitrary aliasing. If some information about the separation of memory cells is necessary to verify a program, then the user shall give the annotation explicitly. I have investigated modeling pointers with aliasing in SPARK as indices in a big memory array. I will present the results of my experiments in this blog post. We will see that, while such a representation is indeed possible modulo some hiding in SPARK, it can quickly become rather heavy in practice.
Quite Proved Image FormatA few weeks ago a piece of code went viral in the online dev community. The “Quite OK Image Format” (QOI) is a fast, lossless image compression designed to have a very simple implementation (about 300 lines of C). Shortly, a few alternative implementations popped up here and there, and in this kind of situation we are eager to show what Ada/SPARK can bring to the table.
by Yannick Moy , Claire Dross
Proving the Correctness of GNAT Light Runtime LibraryThe GNAT light runtime library is a version of the runtime library targeted at embedded platforms and certification, which has been certified for use at the highest levels of criticality in several industrial domains. It contains around 180 units focused mostly on I/O, numerics, text manipulation, memory operations. We have used SPARK to prove the correctness of 40 of them: that the code is free of runtime errors, and that it satisfies its functional specifications.
Security-Hardening Software Libraries with Ada and SPARK
Part of AdaCore's ongoing efforts under the HICLASS project is to demonstrate how the SPARK technology can play an integral part in the security-hardening of existing software libraries written in other non-security-oriented programming languages such as C. This blog post presents the first white paper under this work-stream, “Security-Hardening Software Libraries with Ada and SPARK”.
GNAT Community 2021 is here!
We are happy to announce that the GNAT Community 2021 release is now available via https://www.adacore.com/download. Here are some release highlights:
From Rust to SPARK: Formally Proven Bip-BuffersI am following the evolution of the embedded Rust community and in particular the work of James Munns from Ferrous-Systems. One of the projects that caught my attention is bbqueue, a single producer, single consumer, lockless, thread safe queue, based on BipBuffers.
by Simon Buist
Showing Global contracts with GNAT StudioIn the integrated development environment, GNAT Studio, there is now a plugin that inserts the generated Global contracts inline with the code.
AdaCore at FOSDEM 2021Like previous years, AdaCore will participate in FOSDEM. This time the event will be online only, but this won’t prevent us from celebrating Open Source software. AdaCore engineers will give two talks in the Safety and Open Source devroom, a topic at the heart of AdaCore since its inception.
Ada 202x support in GNAT
News from the Ada front The next revision of the Ada standard is now almost ready, so it's time for a status update on where GNAT and AdaCore stand on this front!
Make With Ada 2020: High Integrity Sumobot
Blaine Osepchuk's project won a finalist prize in the Make with Ada 2019/20 competition. This project was originally posted on Hackster.io here. For those interested in participating in the 2020/21 competition, registration is now open and project submissions will be accepted until Jan 31st 2021, register here.
Code Obfuscator for Ada using Libadalang and SPARKA code obfuscator is a method of sharing coding discussions of real-world examples without giving away proprietary or classified information. This article shows an example of an Ada obfuscator, written in the SPARK language and using the Libadalang library to intelligently hide names and text within the source.
The FACE™ open systems strategy gaining traction in the avionics industryThe FACE™ approach is a government-industry initiative for reducing defense system life cycle costs through portable and reusable software components. It consists of a technical approach — a software standard based on well-defined common interfaces — and a business strategy for encouraging the development and deployment of FACE conformant products.
by Claire Dross
Relaxing the Data Initialization Policy of SPARKSPARK always being under development, new language features make it in every release of the tool, be they previously unsupported Ada features (like access types) or SPARK specific developments. However, new features generally take a while to make it into actual user code. The feature I am going to present here is in my experience an exception, as it was used both internally and by external users before it made it into any actual release. It was designed to enhance the verification of data initialization, whose limitations have been a long standing issue in SPARK.
by Pat Rogers
From Ada to Platinum SPARK: A Case Study for Reusable Bounded StacksThis blog entry describes the transformation of an Ada stack ADT into a completely proven SPARK implementation that relies on static verification instead of run-time enforcement of the abstraction’s semantics. We will prove that there are no reads of unassigned variables, no array indexing errors, no range errors, no numeric overflow errors, no attempts to push onto a full stack, no attempts to pop from an empty stack, that subprogram bodies implement their functional requirements, and so on. As a result, we get a maximally robust implementation of a reusable stack abstraction providing all the facilities required for production use.
by Abe Cohen
An Introduction to Contract-Based Programming in Ada
One of the most powerful features of Ada 2012* is the ability to specify contracts on your code. Contracts describe conditions that must be satisfied upon entry (preconditions) and upon exit (postconditions) of your subprogram. Preconditions describe the context in which the subprogram must be called, and postconditions describe conditions that will be adhered to by the subprogram’s implementation. If you think about it, contracts are a natural evolution of Ada’s core design principle. To encourage developers to be as explicit as possible with their expressions, putting both the compiler/toolchain and other developers in the best position to help them develop better code.
RecordFlux: From Message Specifications to SPARK CodeHandling binary data is hard. Errors in parsers routinely lead to critical security vulnerabilities. In this post we show how the RecordFlux toolset eases the creation of formally verified binary parsers in SPARK.
Learning SPARK via Conway's Game of LifeHow I learned to write SPARK-provable code using Conway's Game Of Life
Secure Use of Cryptographic Libraries: SPARK Binding for LibsodiumThe challenge faced by cryptography APIs is to make building functional and secure programs easy for the user. In this blog post I will present you how I created a SPARK binding for Libsodium, using strong typing and preconditions/postconditions to enforce a safe and functional use of basic cryptographic primitives.
Proving a simple program doing I/O ... with SPARKThe functionality of many security-critical programs is directly related to Input/Output (I/O). This includes command-line utilities such as gzip, which might process untrusted data downloaded from the internet, but also any servers that are directly connected to the internet, such as webservers, DNS servers and so on. In this blog post we show an approach that deals with error handling and reasoning about content, and demonstrate the approach using the cat command line utility.
Using SPARK to prove 255-bit Integer Arithmetic from Curve25519
In 2014, Adam Langley, a well-known cryptographer from Google, wrote a post on his personal blog, in which he tried to prove functions from curve25519-donna, one of his projects, using various verification tools: SPARK, Frama-C, Isabelle... He describes this attempt as "disappointing", because he could not manage to prove "simple" things, like absence of runtime errors. I will show in this blogpost that today, it is possible to prove what he wanted to prove, and even more.
Proving Memory Operations - A SPARK Journey
The promise behind the SPARK language is the ability to formally demonstrate properties in your code regardless of the input values that are supplied - as long as those values satisfy specified constraints. As such, this is quite different from static analysis tools such as our CodePeer or the typical offering available for e.g. the C language, which trade completeness for efficiency in the name of pragmatism. Indeed, the problem they’re trying to solve - finding bugs in existing applications - makes it impossible to be complete. Or, if completeness is achieved, then it is at the cost of massive amount of uncertainties (“false alarms”). SPARK takes a different approach. It requires the programmer to stay within the boundaries of a (relatively large) Ada language subset and to annotate the source code with additional information - at the benefit of being able to be complete (or sound) in the verification of certain properties, and without inundating the programmer with false alarms.
Taking on a Challenge in SPARK
Last week, the programmer Hillel posted a challenge (the link points to a partial postmortem of the provided solutions) on Twitter for someone to prove a correct implementation of three small programming problems: Leftpad, Unique, and Fulcrum.
by Rob Tice
SPARKZumo Part 1: Ada and SPARK on Any Platform
So you want to use SPARK for your next microcontroller project? Great choice! All you need is an Ada 2012 ready compiler and the SPARK tools. But what happens when an Ada 2012 compiler isn’t available for your architecture?
by Yannick Moy
Tokeneer Fully Verified with SPARK 2014Tokeneer is a software for controlling physical access to a secure enclave by means of a fingerprint sensor. This software was created by Altran (Praxis at the time) in 2003 using the previous generation of SPARK language and tools, as part of a project commissioned by the NSA to investigate the rigorous development of critical software using formal methods. The project artefacts, including the source code, were released as open source in 2008. Tokeneer was widely recognized as a milestone in industrial formal verification. We recently transitioned this software to SPARK 2014, and it allowed us to go beyond what was possible with the previous SPARK technology. We have also shown how security vulnerabilities introduced in the code can be detected by formal verification.
Make with Ada 2017: Brushless DC Motor ControllerThis project involves the design of a software platform that provides a good basis when developing motor controllers for brushless DC motors (BLDC/PMSM). It consist of a basic but clean and readable implementation of a sensored field oriented control algorithm. Included is a logging feature that will simplify development and allows users to visualize what is happening. The project shows that Ada successfully can be used for a bare-metal project that requires fast execution.
by Yannick Moy
Applied Formal Logic: Searching in StringsA friend pointed me to recent posts by Tommy M. McGuire, in which he describes how Frama-C can be used to functionally prove a brute force version of string search, and to find a previously unknown bug in a faster version of string search called quick search. Frama-C and SPARK share similar history, techniques and goals. So it was tempting to redo the same proofs on equivalent code in SPARK, and completing them with a functional proof of the fixed version of quick search. This is what I'll present in this post.
by Yannick Moy
VerifyThis Challenge in SPARKThis year again, the VerifyThis competition took place as part of ETAPS conferences. This is the occasion for builders and users of formal program verification platforms to use their favorite tools on common challenges. The first challenge this year was a good fit for SPARK, as it revolves around proving properties of an imperative sorting procedure. In this post, I am using this challenge to show how one can reach different levels of software assurance with SPARK.
by Claire Dross
Research Corner - Auto-active Verification in SPARKGNATprove performs auto-active verification, that is, verification is done automatically, but usually requires annotations by the user to succeed. In SPARK, annotations are most often given in the form of contracts (pre and postconditions). But some language features, in particular ghost code, allow proof guidance to be much more involved. In a paper we are presenting at NASA Formal Methods symposium 2017, we describe how an imperative red black tree implementation in SPARK was verified using intensive auto-active verification.
by Yannick Moy
New Year's Resolution for 2017: Use SPARK, Say Goodbye to BugsNIST has recently published a report called "Dramatically Reducing Software Vulnerabilities" in which they single out five approaches which have the potential for creating software with 100 times fewer vulnerabilities than we do today. One of these approaches is formal methods. Among formal methods, the report highlights strong suits of SPARK, and cites SPARK projects as example of mature uses of formal methods. NIST is not the only ones to support the use of SPARK. Editor Bill Wong from Electronic Design has included SPARK in his "2016 Gifts for the Techie". So if your new year's resolutions include software without bugs, have a look at SPARK in 2017.
by Claire Dross
Automatic Generation of Frame Conditions for Array ComponentsOne of the most important challenges for SPARK users is to come up with adequate contracts and annotations, allowing GNATprove to verify the expected properties in a modular way. Among the annotations mandated by the SPARK toolset, the hardest to come up with are probably loop invariants. A previous post explains how GNATprove can automatically infer loop invariants for preservation of unmodified record components, and so, even if the record is itself nested inside a record or an array. Recently, this generation was improved to also support the simplest cases of partial array updates. We describe in this post in which cases GNATprove can, or cannot, infer loop invariants for preservation of unmodified array components.
by Yannick Moy
Did SPARK 2014 Rethink Formal Methods?David Parnas is a well-known researcher in formal methods, who famously contributed to the analysis of the shut-down software for the Darlington nuclear power plant and designed the specification method known as Parnas tables and the development method called Software Cost Reduction. In 2010, the magazine CACM asked him to identify what was preventing more widespread adoption of formal methods in industry, and in this article on Really Rethinking Formal Methods he listed 17 areas that needed rethinking. The same year, we started a project to recreate SPARK with new ideas and new technology, which lead to SPARK 2014 as it is today. Parnas's article influenced some critical design decisions. Six years later, it's interesting to see how the choices we made in SPARK 2014 address (or not) Parnas's concerns.
by Yannick Moy
Formal Verification of Legacy Code
Just a few weeks ago, one of our partners reported a strange behavior of the well-known function Ada.Text_IO.Get_Line, which reads a line of text from an input file. When the last line of the file was of a specific length like 499 or 500 or 1000, and not terminated with a newline character, then Get_Line raised an exception End_Error instead of returning the expected string. That was puzzling for a central piece of code known to have worked for the past 10 years! But fair enough, there was indeed a bug in the interaction between subprograms in this code, in boundary cases having to do with the size of an intermediate buffer. My colleague Ed Schonberg who fixed the code of Get_Line had nonetheless the intuition that this particular event, finding such a bug in an otherwise trusted legacy piece of code, deserved a more in depth investigation to ensure no other bugs were hiding. So he challenged the SPARK team at AdaCore in checking the correctness of the patched version. He did well, as in the process we uncovered 3 more bugs.
by Yannick Moy
SPARK 2014 Rationale: Support for RavenscarAs presented in a recent post by Pavlos, the upcoming release of SPARK Pro will support concurrency features of Ada, with the restrictions defined in the Ravenscar profile of Ada. This profile restricts concurrency so that concurrent programs are deterministic and schedulable. SPARK analysis makes it possible to prove that shared data is protected against data races, that deadlocks cannot occur and that no other run-time errors related to concurrency can be encountered when running the program. In this post, I revisit the example given by Pavlos to show SPARK features and GNATprove analysis in action.
by Yannick Moy
SPARKSkein: From tour-de-force to run-of-the-mill Formal VerificationIn 2010, Rod Chapman released an implementation in SPARK of the Skein cryptographic hash algorithm, and he proved that this implementation was free of run-time errors. That was a substantial effort with the previous version of the SPARK technology. We have recently translated the code of SPARKSkein from SPARK 2005 to SPARK 2014, and used GNATprove to prove absence of run-time errors in the translated program. The difference between the two technologies is striking. The heroic effort that Rod put in the formal verification of the initial version of SPARKSkein could now be duplicated with modest effort and modest knowledge of the technology, thanks to the much greater proof automation that the SPARK 2014 technology provides, as well as various features that lower the need to provide supporting specifications, most notably contracts on internal subprograms and loop invariants.
How to prevent drone crashes using SPARKThe Crazyflie is a very small quadcopter sold as an open source development platform: both electronic schematics and source code are directly available on their GitHub and its architecture is very flexible. Even if the Crazyflie flies out of the box, it has not been developed with safety in mind: in case of crash, its size, its weight and its plastic propellers won’t hurt anyone! But what if the propellers were made of carbon fiber, and shaped like razor blades to increase the drone’s performance? In theses circumstances, a bug in the flight control system could lead to dramatic events. In this post, I present the work I did to rewrite the stabilization system of the Crazyflie in SPARK 2014, and to prove that it is free of runtime errors. SPARK also helped me to discover little bugs in the original firmware, one of which directly related with overflows. Besides the Crazyflie, this work could be an inspiration for others to do the same work on larger and more safety-critical drones.
AdaCore Releases GNAT Pro 7.3, QGen 1.0 and GNATdashboard 1.0
February saw the annual customer release of a number of important products. This is no mean task when you consider the fact that GNAT Pro is available on over 50 platforms and supports over 150 runtime profiles (ranging from Full Ada Support to the very restricted Zero Footprint Profile suitable for safety-critical development). All in all, from the branching of the preview version to the customer release it takes us nearly 4 months to package everything up! Quality is assured through the internally developed AdaCore Factory.
Testing, Static Analysis, and Formal Verification
I've recently written an article (in two parts) over at Electronic Design about applying different methods of verification to the same small piece of code. The code in question is an implementation of binary search, and I applied Testing, Static Analysis (using the AdaCore tool CodePeer) and Formal Verification (using the AdaCore tool SPARK 2014).
by Yannick Moy
GNATprove Tips and Tricks: Catching Mistakes in ContractsContracts may be quite complex, as complex as code in fact, so it is not surprising that they contain errors sometimes. GNATprove can help by pinpointing suspicious constructs that, although legal, do not make much sense. These constructs are likely to be caused by mistakes made by the programmer when writing the contract. In this post, I show examples of incorrect constructs that are signaled by GNATprove.
by Yannick Moy
GNATprove Tips and Tricks: Keeping Justifications Up-To-DateGNATprove supports the suppression of warnings and justification of check messages with pragmas inserted in the source code. But these justifications may become obsolete across time. To help with that, GNATprove now issues a warning on useless justifications.
by Yannick Moy
SPARK 2014 Rationale: Functional UpdateWhile attribute Old allows expressing inside postconditions the value of objects at subprogram entry, this is in general not enough to conveniently express how record and array objects are modified by a procedure. A special attribute Update is defined in SPARK to make it easy to express such properties.
by Yannick Moy
SPARK 2014 Rationale: Object Oriented ProgrammingObject Oriented Programming is known for making it particularly difficult to analyze programs, because the subprograms called are not always known statically. The standard for civil avionics certification has recognized this specific problem, and defines a specific verification objective called Local Type Consistency that should be met with one of three strategies. SPARK allows using one of these strategies, by defining the behavior of an overridden subprogram using a special class-wide contract and checking that the behavior of the overriding subprogram is a suitable substitution, following the Liskov Substitution Principle.
Tetris in SPARK on ARM Cortex M4
Tetris is a well-known game from the 80's, which has been ported in many versions to all game platforms since then. There are even versions of Tetris written in Ada. But there was no version of Tetris written in SPARK, so we've repaired that injustice. Also, there was no version of Tetris for the Atmel SAM4S ARM processor, another injustice we've repaired.