Modular Verification of Linked Lists with Views via Separation Logic

By: Jonas Braband Jensen, Lars Birkedal, Peter Sestoft


We present a separation logic specification and verification of linked lists with views, a data structure from the C5 collection library for .NET. A view is a generalization of the well-known concept of an iterator. Linked lists with views form an interesting case study for verification since they allow mutation through multiple, possibly overlapping, views of the same underlying list. For modularity, we build on a fragment of higher-order separation logic and use abstract predicates to give a specification with respect to which clients can be proved correct. We introduce a novel mathematical model of lists with views, and formulate succinct modular abstract specifications of the operations on the data structure. To show that the concrete implementation realizes the specification, we use fractional permissions in a novel way to capture the sharing of data between views and their underlying list. We conclude by suggesting directions for future research that arose from conducting this case study.


Separation logic, formal verification, modularity

Cite as:

Jonas Braband Jensen, Lars Birkedal, Peter Sestoft, “Modular Verification of Linked Lists with Views via Separation Logic”, Journal of Object Technology, Volume 10, (2011), pp. 2:1-20, doi:10.5381/jot.2011.10.1.a2.

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