Incremental Formal Design Verification

24 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2020

See all articles by Gitanjali Swamy

Gitanjali Swamy

PCRI, Harvard Business School; IoTask; University of California, Berkeley; Auto-ID Center, MIT

Robert K. Brayton

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 1994


Language containment is a method for design verification that involves checking if the behavior of the system to be verified is a subset of the behavior of its specifications (properties or requirements). If this check fails, language containment returns a subset of ‘fair’ states involved in behavior that the system exhibits but the specification does not. Current techniques for language containment do not take advantage of the fact that the process of design is incremental; namely that the designer repeatedly modifies and re-verifies his/her design. This results in unnecessary computation. We present a method that successively modifies the latest result of verification each time the design is modified. Our incremental algorithm translates changes made by the designer into an addition or subtraction of edges, states or constraints (on acceptable behavior) from the transition behavior or specification of the problem. Next, these changes are used to update the set of ‘fair’ states previously computed. This incremental algorithm takes much less time than the current techniques for language containment; a conclusion supported by experimental results presented in this paper.

Keywords: incremental algorithms, iterative design, computer aided design, finite state machine traversal, state space exploration

Suggested Citation

Swamy, Gitanjali and Brayton, Robert K., Incremental Formal Design Verification (1994). Available at SSRN: or

Gitanjali Swamy (Contact Author)

PCRI, Harvard Business School ( email )

114 Western Ave
Allston, MA 02134
United States


IoTask ( email )

One Broadway, 14th floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
7819753345 (Phone)


University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Auto-ID Center, MIT ( email )

Robert K. Brayton

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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