Interface Compatibility Checking for Software Modules

Arindam Chakrabarti, Luca de Alfaro, Thomas A. Henzinger, Marcin Jurdzinski, and Freddy Y.C. Mang

We present a formal methodology and tool for uncovering errors in the interaction of software modules. Our methodology consists of a suite of languages for defining software interfaces, and algorithms for checking interface compatibility. We focus on interfaces that explain the method-call dependencies between software modules. Such an interface makes assumptions about the environment in the form of call and availability constraints. A call constraint restricts the accessibility of local methods to certain external methods. An availability constraint restricts the accessibility of local methods to certain states of the module. For example, the interface for a file server with local methods open and read may assert that a file cannot be read without having been opened. Checking interface compatibility requires the solution of games, and in the presence of availability constraints, of pushdown games. Based on this methodology, we have implemented a tool that has uncovered incompatibilities in TinyOS, a small operating system for sensor nodes in adhoc networks.

Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Computer-Aided Verification (CAV), Lecture Notes in Computer Science 2404, Springer, 2002, pp. 428-441.

Download inofficial, sometimes updated PostScript / PDF document. © 2002 Springer.