Precondition Inference via Partitioning of Initial States

Bishoksan Kafle, Graeme Gange, Peter Schachte, Harald Sondergaard, Peter J. Stuckey

Precondition inference is a non-trivial task with several applications in program analysis and verification. We present a novel iterative method for automatically deriving sufficient preconditions for safety and unsafety of programs which introduces a new dimension of modularity. Each iteration maintains over-approximations of the set of \emph{safe} and \emph{unsafe} \emph{initial} states. Then we repeatedly use the current abstractions to partition the program's \emph{initial} states into those known to be safe, known to be unsafe and unknown, and construct a revised program focusing on those initial states that are not yet known to be safe or unsafe. An experimental evaluation of the method on a set of software verification benchmarks shows that it can solve problems which are not solvable using previous methods.

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