Bounded Satisfiability for PCTL

Authors Nathalie Bertrand, John Fearnley, Sven Schewe

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Nathalie Bertrand
John Fearnley
Sven Schewe

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Nathalie Bertrand, John Fearnley, and Sven Schewe. Bounded Satisfiability for PCTL. In Computer Science Logic (CSL'12) - 26th International Workshop/21st Annual Conference of the EACSL. Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 16, pp. 92-106, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2012)


While model checking PCTL for Markov chains is decidable in polynomial-time, the decidability of PCTL satisfiability is a long standing open problem. While general satisfiability is an intriguing challenge from a purely theoretical point of view, we argue that general solutions would not be of interest to practitioners: such solutions could be too big to be implementable or even infinite. Inspired by bounded synthesis techniques, we turn to the more applied problem of seeking models of a bounded size: we restrict our search to implementable - and therefore reasonably simple - models. We propose a procedure to decide whether or not a given PCTL formula has an implementable model by reducing it to an SMT problem. We have implemented our techniques and found that they can be applied to the practical problem of sanity checking - a procedure that allows a system designer to check whether their formula has an unexpectedly small model.
  • Satisfiability
  • Temporal Logic
  • Probabilistic Logic


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