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Model Checking for Probability and Time: from Theory to Practice

Marta Kwiatkowska*

University of Birmingham

Probability features increasingly often in software and hardware systems: it is used in distributed co-ordination and routing problems, to model fault-tolerance and performance, and to provide adaptive resource management strategies. Probabilistic model checking is an automatic procedure for establishing if a desired property holds in a probabilistic model, aimed at verifying probabilistic specifications such as ``leader election is eventually resolved with probability 1'', ``the chance of shutdown occurring is at most 0.01%'', and ``the probability that a message will be delivered within 30ms is at least 0.75''. A probabilistic model checker calculates the probability of a given temporal logic property being satisfied, as opposed to validity. In contrast to conventional model checkers, which rely on reachability analysis of the underlying transition system graph, probabilistic model checking additionally involves numerical solutions of linear equations and linear programming problems. This paper reports our experience with implementing PRISM (, a Probabilistic Symbolic Model Checker, demonstrates its usefulness in analysing real-world probabilistic protocols, and outlines future challenges for this research direction.

* Marta Kwiatkowska is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham where she works with the research group on Modelling and Analysis of Systems.

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