Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation

Automated Deduction and Proof Certification for the B Method

Abstract : The B Method is a formal method heavily used in the railway industry to specify and develop safety-critical software. It allows the development of correct-by-construction programs, thanks to a refinement process from an abstract specification to a deterministic implementation of the program. The soundness of the refinement steps depends on the validity of logical formulas called proof obligations, expressed in a specific typed set theory. Typical industrial projects using the B Method generate thousands of proof obligations, thereby relying on automated tools to discharge as many as possible proof obligations. A specific tool, called Atelier B, designed to implement the B Method and provided with a theorem prover, helps users verify the validity of proof obligations, automatically or interactively. Improving the automated verification of proof obligations is a crucial task for the speed and ease of development. The solution developed in our work is to use Zenon, a first-order logic automated theorem prover based on the tableaux method. The particular feature of Zenon is to generate proof certificates, i.e. proof objects that can be verified by external tools. The B Method is based on first-order logic and a specific typed set theory. To improve automated theorem proving in this theory, we extend the proof-search algorithm of Zenon to polymorphism and deduction modulo theory, leading to a new tool called Zenon Modulo which is the main contribution of our work. The extension to polymorphism allows us to deal with problems combining several sorts, like booleans and integers, and generic axioms, like B set theory axioms, without relying on encodings. Deduction modulo theory is an extension of first-order logic with rewriting both on terms and propositions. It is well suited for proof search in axiomatic theories, as it turns axioms into rewrite rules. This way, we turn proof search among axioms into computations, avoiding unnecessary combinatorial explosion, and reducing the size of proofs by recording only their meaningful steps. To certify Zenon Modulo proofs, we choose to rely on Dedukti, a proof-checker used as a universal backend to verify proofs coming from different theorem provers, and based on deduction modulo theory. This work is part of a larger project called BWare, which gathers academic entities and industrial companies around automated theorem proving for the B Method. These industrial partners provide to BWare a large benchmark of proof obligations coming from real industrial projects using the B Method and allowing us to test our tool Zenon Modulo. The experimental results obtained on this benchmark are particularly conclusive since Zenon Modulo proves more proof obligations than state-of-the-art first-order provers. In addition, all the proof certificates produced by Zenon Modulo on this benchmark are well checked by Dedukti, increasing our confidence in the soundness of our work.
Complete list of metadatas
Contributor : Pierre Halmagrand <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - 4:11:34 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - 11:52:47 AM


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


  • HAL Id : tel-01420460, version 1


Pierre Halmagrand. Automated Deduction and Proof Certification for the B Method. Formal Languages and Automata Theory [cs.FL]. Conservatoire National Des Arts et Métiers, Paris, 2016. English. ⟨tel-01420460v1⟩



Record views


Files downloads