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Types, Proofs, and Safe Mobile Code The unusual effectiveness of logic in programming language research Peter Lee Carnegie Mellon University January 22, 2001 NSF/CISE Workshop on The Unusual Effectiveness of Logic in Computer Science

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Carnegie Mellon Logic in PL research Domain theory Category theory Type theory Term rewriting systems Denotational semantics Operational semantics Formal verification Logic programming Proof-carrying code Type-directed compiling Logic frameworks Logic is the foundation of modern PL research. -calculus Abstract Interpretation

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Carnegie Mellon This talk A somewhat personal account, by necessity a rather narrow slice. But similar stories can be found in almost all areas of PL research.

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Logic as Language

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Carnegie Mellon Logic and languages To PL researchers, logics and languages are often interchangeable. A vivid example of this is in formal proofs. Consider: Write “x is a proof of P” as x:P.

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Carnegie Mellon Formal proofs We can write formal proofs by application of inference rules. An example: If we have a proof x of P and a proof y of Q, then x and y together constitute a proof of P Q. Or, more compactly: Given x:P, y:Q then (x,y):P*Q.

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Carnegie Mellon Formal proofs Another familiar example: Assume we have a proof x of P. If we can then obtain a proof b of Q, then we have a proof of P Q. Given [x:P] b:Q then fn (x:P) => b : P Q. More: Given x:P*Q then fst(x):P Given y:P*Q then snd(y):Q

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Carnegie Mellon Proofs and types So, for example: fn (x:P*Q) => (snd(x), fst(x)) : P*Q Q*P We can develop full metalanguages based on this principle of proofs as programs, propositions as types. Typechecking gives us proofchecking! Codified in languages such as ML.

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Carnegie Mellon Applications This isomorphism has had many applications in logic and in CS. Proof development systems. NuPrl, Coq, LCF, … Advanced programming languages. Prolog. Logical framework languages. Edinburgh Logical Framework.

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Carnegie Mellon Logical frameworks The Edinburgh Logical Framework (LF) is a particularly useful language for specifying logics.

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Carnegie Mellon LF example exp : type pred : type pf : pred -> type true : pred /\ : pred -> pred -> pred => : pred -> pred -> pred all : (exp -> pred) -> pred truei : pf true andi : {P:pred} {R:pred} pf P -> pf R -> pf (/\ P R) andel : {P:pred} {R:pred} pf (/\ P R) -> pf P impi : {P:pred} {R:pred} (pf P -> pf R) -> pf (=> P R) alli : {P:exp -> pred} ({X:exp} pf (P X)) -> pf (all P) alle : {P:exp -> pred} {E:exp} pf (all P) -> pf (P E) Fragment of first-order logic, Pfenning’s Elf syntax.

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Carnegie Mellon LF example The representation of P P P for some predicate P: The proof of this predicate has the following Elf representation: (=> P (/\ P P )) (impi P (/\ P P ) ([X:pf P ] andi P P x x))

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Language as Logic

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Carnegie Mellon Languages and logic To PL researchers, languages and logics are often interchangeable. A vivid example of this is in type theory.

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Carnegie Mellon Type theory A standard application of type theory involves the following: Operational (run-time) semantics is defined by an inference system. Type system is also defined by an inference system. Logic is used to prove the soundness of the type system wrt the semantics. A programming language is a logic.

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Carnegie Mellon Soundness Soundness: Well-typed programs are guaranteed to stay within the boundaries defined by the operational semantics. Well-typed programs won’t go wrong.

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Carnegie Mellon Practical benefits Soundness can be hard to prove. But it essentially converts the very difficult negative property (program won’t go wrong) into a positive property (program is well-typed). Only need to prove soundness once.

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Carnegie Mellon Applications Current research often involves defining the logical core of a language and then studying its properties. Existing languages. ML, Haskell, JVML, … New design and implementation features. Type-directed compiling, region inference, linear typing, …

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Proofs, Types, and Safe Mobile Code

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Carnegie Mellon The code safety problem Please install and execute this. Full cartoon

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Carnegie Mellon Code Safety CPU Code Trusted Host Is this safe to execute?

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Carnegie Mellon Theorem Prover Formal verification CPU Code Flexible and powerful. Trusted Host But really really really hard and must be correct.

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Carnegie Mellon A Key Idea: Explicit Proofs Certifying Prover CPU Proof Checker Code Proof Trusted Host

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Carnegie Mellon Proof-Carrying Code [Necula & Lee, OSDI’96] A B Formal proof safety in LF Typically native or VM code rlrrllrrllrlrlrllrlrrllrrll…

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Carnegie Mellon Proof-Carrying Code Certifying Prover CPU Code Proof Simple, small (<52KB), and fast. No longer need to trust this component. Proof Checker Reasonable in size (0-10%).

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Carnegie Mellon The Role of Languages and Logic Civilized programming languages can provide “safety for free”. Well-formed/well-typed safe. Idea: Arrange for the compiler to “explain” why the target code it generates preserves the safety properties of the source program.

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Carnegie Mellon Automation via Certifying Compilation Certifying Compiler CPU Looks and smells like a compiler. % spjc foo.java bar.class baz.c -ljdk1.2.2 Source code Proof Object code Certifying Prover Proof Checker

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Carnegie Mellon Safety Policies in LF jfloat : exp. jinstof : exp -> exp. of: exp -> exp -> pred. faddf: {E:exp} {E':exp} pf (of E jfloat) -> pf (of E' jfloat) -> pf (of (fadd E E') jfloat). ext: {E:exp} {C:exp} {D:exp} pf (jextends C D) -> pf (of E (jinstof C)) -> pf (of E (jinstof D)). Fragment of rules for the Java type system.

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Carnegie Mellon Program checking A proof for (saferd4 (add src_1 (add (imul edx_1 4) 8))) in the Java specification looks like this (excerpt): (rdArray4 A0 A2 (sub0chk A3) szint (aidxi 4 (below1 A7))) This proof can be easily validated via LF type checking.

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Themes and Conclusions

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Carnegie Mellon Coherence Research in programming languages is largely directed towards achieving coherence in software systems. Main Entry: co·her·ence Pronunciation: kO-'hir-&n(t)s, -'her- Function: noun Date: 1580 1 : the quality or state of cohering: as a : systematic or logical connection or consistency b : integration of diverse elements, relationships, or values 2 : the property of being coherent

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Carnegie Mellon Coherence Coherence requires: ability to analyze/verify components, and communicate descriptions of components. Logic is canonical, in the sense of being the only foundation for this.

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Carnegie Mellon Esthetics vs. pragmatics Many of the methods and results are motivated as much by esthetic as they are by pragmatic concerns. Practical engineering consequences: Minimality and clarity of expression. Scaling up by study of “core” logics. Can sometimes be divorced from real- world problems, but hard to predict.

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Carnegie Mellon Practicality In recent years, a trend towards picking the low-hanging fruit. Eliminate “simple errors”. Exposed by the Web, plug-ins, embedded systems, etc. Even machine languages! Small theorems about big programs.

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Carnegie Mellon Conclusions For much of the history of CS, PL research meant design of languages and compiler technology. Today, PL technology and concepts advance logic and are applied directly to software artifacts. “LF in the Unix kernel.”

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Carnegie Mellon A logical approach Please install and execute this. OK, but let me quickly look over the instructions first. Code producerHost

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Carnegie Mellon A logical approach Code producerHost

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Carnegie Mellon A logical approach This store instruction is dangerous! Code producerHost

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Carnegie Mellon A logical approach Can you prove that it is always safe? Code producerHost

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Carnegie Mellon A logical approach Can you prove that it is always safe? Yes! Here’s the proof I got from my certifying Java compiler! Code producerHost

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Carnegie Mellon A logical approach Your proof checks out. I believe you because I believe in logic. Code producerHost return

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