Fedora Formal Methods Special Interest Group (SIG)
What are Formal Methods?
"Formal methods" are techniques that use mathematics to prove that models of software, hardware, or systems will or will not have certain behaviors. To be practical, they must be automated using tools. Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) formal methods tools are now available, including automated theorem provers and model-checkers, but the tools can be difficult to install and apply.
Goal and Scope
The goal of the Formal Methods SIG is to make it easy to install formal methods tools in Fedora, ease learning how to apply them, encourage the development of "open proofs" (where an implementation, proofs, and required tools are all FLOSS), and to provide feedback to toolmakers so that the tools in Fedora can become more powerful, more scaleable, and easier to use together.
Mission and Plan
For more details, see the Mission Statement and Plan for the Formal Methods Fedora SIG.
The SIG will use the Fedora wiki, of course. Material that crosses beyond Fedora may also go into the open proofs site.
The mailing list to use is TBD:
- We could create a Fedora Formal Methods List.
- Alternatively, we could just use the existing open proofs mailing list. Two advantages of using this: (1) it already exists, and (2) it will help us re-use and coordinate with other distros.
- Anyone have a preference?
The Formal methods tool suite page identifies the tools that have been packaged, and categorizes them in normal English.
Of those, in particular it'd be great to see:
- Package APRON (a draft is available)
- Package Isabelle/HOL
- Package DiVinE-MC (a draft is available)
The following packages are our current focus and have someone working on them:
- Package critically-needed pvs libraries, so "Why" can invoke them (jjames)
- Update "Why" so it can invoke pvs-sbcl (jjames)
- Package frama-c (adunn)
- Package BLAST and its dependencies (picosat and csisat) (jjames; dwheeler reviewing)
- Package ACL2 (jjames looking at)
- Package Isabelle/HOL (Tim Colles?)
We intend to create a "formal methods" yum group soon, so that 'yum groupinstall "Formal methods"' will get you lots of packagey goodness. The current plan is to wait until frama-c is packaged, though if that takes too long, we can go ahead.
See the Formal methods tool suite page for a list of what would be in this group (along with their dependencies.
We might also add basic symbolic mathematics packages, since they can also be used for such purposes. These include: mathomatic, pari, sympy, wxMaxima / maxima.
We could make this a proposed feature for the next release of Fedora; see the Fedora Features policy. Here is draft proposed text for a "Formal Methods" feature (previously named "provers").
In the longer term, we hope to create a Fedora Spin with these packages. That will need to wait until after the yum group is formed. The Haskell Spin kickstart file might be a useful place to start.
- Packaged "Why" updated to version 2.23 (needed for frama-C)
- Approved package PVS (pvs-sbcl)
- Approved package picosat and csisat (needed for BLAST)
- Created Formal methods tool suite page