Trustworthy Runtime Verification via Bisimulation (Experience Report)
When runtime verification is used to monitor safety-critical systems, it is essential that monitoring code behaves correctly. The Copilot runtime verification framework pursues this goal by automatically generating C monitor programs from a high-level DSL embedded in Haskell. In safety-critical domains, every piece of deployed code must be accompanied by an assurance argument that is convincing to human auditors. However, it is difficult for auditors to determine with confidence that a compiled monitor cannot crash and implements the behavior required by the Copilot semantics.
In this paper we describe CopilotVerifier, which runs alongside the Copilot compiler, generating a proof of correctness for the compiled output. The proof establishes that a given Copilot monitor and its compiled form produce equivalent outputs on equivalent inputs, and that they either crash in identical circumstances or cannot crash. The proof takes the form of a bisimulation broken down into a set of verification conditions. We leverage two pieces of SMT-backed technology: the Crucible symbolic execution library for LLVM and the What4 solver interface library. Our results demonstrate that dramatically increased compiler assurance can be achieved at moderate cost by building on existing tools. This paves the way to our ultimate goal of generating formal assurance arguments that are convincing to human auditors.
The artifact accompanying this paper includes the source code for CopilotVerifier, as well as the examples referenced throughout the paper. CopilotVerifier is a Haskell library that can be installed on most machines, and we have included a Docker image to facilitate this process. CopilotVerifier depends on Clang and Z3 at runtime.