October 15, 2021
Programmers often leverage data structure libraries that provide useful and reusable abstractions. Modular verification of programs that make use of these libraries naturally rely on specifications that capture important properties about how the library expects these data structures to be accessed and manipulated. However, these specifications are often missing or incomplete, making it hard for clients to be confident they are using the library safely. When library source code is also unavailable, as is often the case, the challenge to infer meaningful specifications is further exacerbated. In this paper, we present a novel data-driven abductive inference mechanism that infers specifications for library methods sufficient to enable verification of the library’s clients. Our technique combines a data-driven learning-based framework to postulate candidate specifications, along with SMT-provided counterexamples to refine these candidates, taking special care to prevent generating specifications that overfit to sampled tests. The resulting specifications form a minimal set of requirements on the behavior of library implementations that ensures safety of a particular client program. Our solution thus provides a new multi-abduction procedure for precise specification inference of data structure libraries guided by client-side verification tasks. Experimental results on a wide range of realistic OCaml data structure programs demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach.