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# [Frama-c-discuss] Semantics of \valid

• Subject: [Frama-c-discuss] Semantics of \valid
• From: Boris.Hollas at de.bosch.com (Hollas Boris (CR/AEY1))
• Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 13:55:35 +0200

Consider an array a[n], n >= 0. Then, for integers l,r we have

\valid(a+(l..r))  \neq  \valid_range(a,l,r)  (*)

because

\valid(a+(-1..-2)  =  \valid(\empty)  =  true

but

\valid_range(a,-1,-2)  =  \offset_min(p) <= -1 \land \offset_max(p) >= -2  =  false

I think it would be much nicer if we had equality in (*).

I stumbled on this when I found out that Jessie couldn't verify pointer dereferencing in this code:

/*@ requires \valid(a+ (l..r));
*/
void foo(int a[], int l, int r) {
int k;

k = a[r]; // problem here
}

The reason is that the precondition holds if l > r, in which case any access to a[] may be invalid. However, this is not the behavior I expected. There is an implicit precondition 0 <= l, but no implicit precondition l <= r. But calling a function that expects an array and a range of array indices with an empty range is odd. There's no point in requiring a set of pointers to be valid if there is no pointer in this set that can be dereferenced. I thinks that this is a source of confusion and problems among users.

Would it be better to change the semantics of \valid and \valid_range:

\valid(s) holds if and only if s \ne \empty and dereferencing any p \in s is safe
\valid_range(a,i,j) = \offset_min(p) <= i \land \offset_max(p) >= j \land i <= j

Regards,
Boris