David Parker
Reader, Computer Science, University of Birmingham
[KNP04b] Marta Kwiatkowska, Gethin Norman and David Parker. Probabilistic Symbolic Model Checking with PRISM: A Hybrid Approach. International Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer (STTT), 6(2), pages 128-142. September 2004. [ps.gz] [pdf] [bib]
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Abstract. In this paper we present efficient symbolic techniques for probabilistic model checking. These have been implemented in PRISM, a tool for the analysis of probabilistic models such as discrete-time Markov chains, continuous-time Markov chains and Markov decision processes using specifications in the probabilistic temporal logics PCTL and CSL. Motivated by the success of model checkers such as SMV, which use BDDs (binary decision diagrams), we have developed an implementation of PCTL and CSL model checking based on MTBDDs (multi-terminal BDDs) and BDDs. Existing work in this direction has been hindered by the generally poor performance of MTBDD-based numerical computation, which is often substantially slower than explicit methods using sparse matrices. The focus of this paper is a novel hybrid technique which combines aspects of symbolic and explicit approaches to overcome these performance problems. For typical examples, we achieve a dramatic improvement over the purely symbolic approach. In addition, thanks to the compact model representation using MTBDDs, we can verify systems an order of magnitude larger than with sparse matrices, whilst almost matching or even beating them for speed.