Edmund Clarke's Foreward

Edmund M. Clarke
FORE Systems Professor of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

Formal methods have finally come of age! Specification languages, theorem provers, and model checkers are beginning to be used routinely in industry. Mathematical logic is basic to all of these techniques. Until now textbooks on logic for computer scientists have not kept pace with the development of tools for hardware and software specification and verification. For example, in spite of the success of model checking in verifying sequential circuit designs and communication protocols, until now I did not know of a single text, suitable for undergraduate and beginning graduate students, that attempts to explain how this technique works. As a result, this material is rarely taught to computer scientists and electrical engineers who will need to use it as part of their jobs in the near future. Instead, engineers avoid using formal methods in situations where the methods would be of genuine benefit or complain that the concepts and notation used by the tools are complicated and unnatural. This is unfortunate since the underlying mathematics is generally quite simple, certainly no more difficult than the concepts from mathematical analysis that every calculus student is expected to learn.

Logic in Computer Science by Huth and Ryan is an exceptional book. I was amazed when I looked through it for the first time. In addition to propositional and predicate logic, it has a particularly thorough treatment of temporal logic and model checking. In fact, the book is quite remarkable in how much of this material it is able to cover: linear and branching time temporal logic, explicit state model checking, fairness, the basic fixpoint theorems for computation tree logic (CTL), even binary decision diagrams and symbolic model checking. Moreover, this material is presented at a level that is accessible to undergraduate and beginning graduate students. Numerous problems and examples are provided to help students master the material in the book. Since both Huth and Ryan are active researchers in logics of programs and program verification, they write with considerable authority.

In summary, the material in this book is up-to-date, practical, and elegantly presented. The book is a wonderful example of what a modern text on logic for computer science should be like. I recommend it to the reader with greatest enthusiasm and predict that the book will be an enormous success.

Back to main index.