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See detailSpecification and Model-driven Trace Checking of Complex Temporal Properties
Boufaied, Chaima UL

Doctoral thesis (2021)

Offline trace checking is a procedure used to evaluate requirement properties over a trace of recorded events. System properties verified in the context of trace checking can be specified using different ... [more ▼]

Offline trace checking is a procedure used to evaluate requirement properties over a trace of recorded events. System properties verified in the context of trace checking can be specified using different specification languages and formalisms; in this thesis, we consider two classes of complex temporal properties: 1) properties defined using aggregation operators; 2) signal-based temporal properties from the Cyber Physical System (CPS) domain. The overall goal of this dissertation is to develop methods and tools for the specification and trace checking of the aforementioned classes of temporal properties, focusing on the development of scalable trace checking procedures for such properties. The main contributions of this thesis are: i) the TEMPSY-CHECK-AG model-driven approach for trace checking of temporal properties with aggregation operators, defined in the TemPsy-AG language; ii) a taxonomy covering the most common types of Signal-based Temporal Properties (SBTPs) in the CPS domain; iii) SB-TemPsy, a trace-checking approach for SBTPs that strikes a good balance in industrial contexts in terms of efficiency of the trace checking procedure and coverage of the most important types of properties in CPS domains. SB-TemPsy includes: 1) SB-TemPsy-DSL, a DSL that allows the specification of the types of SBTPs identified in the aforementioned taxonomy, and 2) an efficient trace-checking procedure, implemented in a prototype tool called SB-TemPsy-Check; iv) TD-SB-TemPsy-Report, a model-driven trace diagnostics approach for SBTPs expressed in SB-TemPsy-DSL. TD-SB-TemPsy-Report relies on a set of diagnostics patterns, i.e., undesired signal behaviors that might lead to property violations. To provide relevant and detailed information about the cause of a property violation, TD-SB-TemPsy-Report determines the diagnostics information specific to each type of diagnostics pattern. Our technological contributions rely on model-driven approaches for trace checking and trace diagnostics. Such approaches consist in reducing the problem of checking (respectively, determining the diagnostics information of) a property over an execution trace to the problem of evaluating an OCL (Object Constraint Language) constraint (semantically equivalent to ) on an instance (equivalent to ) of a meta-model of the trace. The results — in terms of efficiency of our model-driven tools—presented in this thesis are in line with those presented in previous work, and confirm that model-driven technologies can lead to the development of tools that exhibit good performance from a practical standpoint, also when applied in industrial contexts. [less ▲]

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See detailSignal-Based Properties of Cyber-Physical Systems: Taxonomy and Logic-based Characterization
Boufaied, Chaima UL; Jukss, Maris; Bianculli, Domenico UL et al

in Journal of Systems and Software (2021), 174

The behavior of a cyber-physical system (CPS) is usually defined in terms of the input and output signals processed by sensors and actuators. Requirements specifications of CPSs are typically expressed ... [more ▼]

The behavior of a cyber-physical system (CPS) is usually defined in terms of the input and output signals processed by sensors and actuators. Requirements specifications of CPSs are typically expressed using signal-based temporal properties. Expressing such requirements is challenging, because of (1) the many features that can be used to characterize a signal behavior; (2) the broad variation in expressiveness of the specification languages (i.e., temporal logics) used for defining signal-based temporal properties. Thus, system and software engineers need effective guidance on selecting appropriate signal behavior types and an adequate specification language, based on the type of requirements they have to define. In this paper, we present a taxonomy of the various types of signal-based properties and provide, for each type, a comprehensive and detailed description as well as a formalization in a temporal logic. Furthermore, we review the expressiveness of state-of-the-art signal-based temporal logics in terms of the property types identified in the taxonomy. Moreover, we report on the application of our taxonomy to classify the requirements specifications of an industrial case study in the aerospace domain, in order to assess the feasibility of using the property types included in our taxonomy and the completeness of the latter. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace-Checking Signal-based Temporal Properties: A Model-Driven Approach
Boufaied, Chaima UL; Menghi, Claudio UL; Bianculli, Domenico UL et al

in Proceedings of the 35th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE ’20) (2020, September)

Signal-based temporal properties (SBTPs) characterize the behavior of a system when its inputs and outputs are signals over time; they are very common for the requirements specification of cyber-physical ... [more ▼]

Signal-based temporal properties (SBTPs) characterize the behavior of a system when its inputs and outputs are signals over time; they are very common for the requirements specification of cyber-physical systems. Although there exist several specification languages for expressing SBTPs, such languages either do not easily allow the specification of important types of properties (such as spike or oscillatory behaviors), or are not supported by (efficient) trace-checking procedures. In this paper, we propose SB-TemPsy, a novel model-driven trace-checking approach for SBTPs. SB-TemPsy provides (i) SB-TemPsy-DSL, a domain-specific language that allows the specification of SBTPs covering the most frequent requirement types in cyber-physical systems, and (ii) SB-TemPsy-Check, an efficient, model-driven trace-checking procedure. This procedure reduces the problem of checking an SB-TemPsy-DSL property over an execution trace to the problem of evaluating an Object Constraint Language constraint on a model of the execution trace. We evaluated our contributions by assessing the expressiveness of SB-TemPsy-DSL and the applicability of SB-TemPsy-Check using a representative industrial case study in the satellite domain. SB-TemPsy-DSL could express 97% of the requirements of our case study and SB-TemPsy-Check yielded a trace-checking verdict in 87% of the cases, with an average checking time of 48.7 s. From a practical standpoint and compared to state-of-the-art alternatives, our approach strikes a better trade-off between expressiveness and performance as it supports a large set of property types that can be checked, in most cases, within practical time limits. [less ▲]

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See detailA Model-driven Approach to Trace Checking of Temporal Properties with Aggregations
Boufaied, Chaima UL; Bianculli, Domenico UL; Briand, Lionel UL

in Journal of Object Technology (2019, July), 18(2), 151-21

The verification of complex software systems often requires to check quantitative properties that rely on aggregation operators (e.g., the average response time of a service). One way to ease the ... [more ▼]

The verification of complex software systems often requires to check quantitative properties that rely on aggregation operators (e.g., the average response time of a service). One way to ease the specification of these properties is to use property specification patterns, such as the ones for “service provisioning”, previously proposed in the literature. In this paper we focus on the problem of performing offline trace checking of temporal properties containing aggregation operators. We first present TemPsy-AG, an extension of TemPsy—an existing pattern-based language for the specification of temporal properties—to support service provisioning patterns that use aggregation operators. We then extend an existing model-driven procedure for trace checking, to verify properties expressed in TemPsy-AG. The trace checking procedure relies on the efficient mapping of temporal properties written in TemPsy-AG into OCL constraints on a meta-model of execution traces. We have implemented this procedure in the TemPsy-Check-AG tool and evaluated its performance: our approach scales linearly with respect to the length of the input trace and can deal with much larger traces than a state-of-the-art tool. [less ▲]

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