A General Framework for Certifying Garbage Collectors and Their Mutators
Last modified: Thu Jun 14 07:34:28 2007 GMT.
AbstractGarbage-collected languages such as Java and C# are becoming more and more widely used in both high-end software and real-time embedded applications. The correctness of the GC implementation is essential to the reliability and security of a large portion of the world's mission-critical software. Unfortunately, garbage collectors---especially incremental and concurrent ones---are extremely hard to implement correctly. In this paper, we present a new uniform approach to verifying the safety of both a mutator and its garbage collector in Hoare-style logic. We define a formal garbage collector interface general enough to reason about a variety of algorithms while allowing the mutator to ignore implementation-specific details of the collector. Our approach supports collectors that require read and write barriers. We have used our approach to mechanically verify assembly implementations of mark-sweep, copying and incremental copying GCs in Coq, as well as sample mutator programs that can be linked with any of the GCs to produce a fully-verified garbage-collected program. Our work provides a foundation for reasoning about complex mutator-collector interaction and makes an important advance toward building fully certified production-quality GCs.
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