Model checking is a technique for verifying finite state concurrent systems such as sequential circuit designs and communication protocols. It has a number of advantages over traditional approaches that are based on simulation, testing, and deductive reasoning. In particular, model checking is automatic and usually quite fast. Also, if the design contains an error, model checking will produce a counterexample that can be used to pinpoint the source of the error. The method, which was awarded the 1998 ACM Paris Kanellakis Award for Theory and Practice, has been used successfully in practice to verify real industrial designs, and companies are beginning to market commercial model checkers.
The main challenge in model checking is dealing with the state space explosion problem. This problem occurs in systems with many components that can interact with each other or systems with data structures that can assume many different values. In such cases the number of global states can be enormous. Researchers have made considerable progress on this problem over the last ten years.
This is the first comprehensive presentation of the theory and practice of model checking. The book, which includes basic as well as state-of-the-art techniques, algorithms, and tools, can be used both as an introduction to the subject and as a reference for researchers.