Selected Paper of the 23rd International Conference on Foundations of Software Science and Computation Structures (FoSSaCS 2020)

Editors: Jean Goubault-Larrecq, Barbara Koenig

This special issue of Logical Methods in Computer Science contains selected papers presented at the 23rd International Conference on Foundations of Software Science and Computation Structures (FOSSACS 2020), a part of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software (ETAPS 2020).


1. A Detailed Account of The Inconsistent Labelling Problem of Stutter-Preserving Partial-Order Reduction

Thomas Neele ; Antti Valmari ; Tim A. C. Willemse.
One of the most popular state-space reduction techniques for model checking is partial-order reduction (POR). Of the many different POR implementations, stubborn sets are a very versatile variant and have thus seen many different applications over the past 32 years. One of the early stubborn sets works shows how the basic conditions for reduction can be augmented to preserve stutter-trace equivalence, making stubborn sets suitable for model checking of linear-time properties. In this paper, we identify a flaw in the reasoning and show with a counter-example that stutter-trace equivalence is not necessarily preserved. We propose a stronger reduction condition and provide extensive new correctness proofs to ensure the issue is resolved. Furthermore, we analyse in which formalisms the problem may occur. The impact on practical implementations is limited, since they all compute a correct approximation of the theory.

2. Cartesian Difference Categories

Mario Alvarez-Picallo ; Jean-Simon Pacaud Lemay.
Cartesian differential categories are categories equipped with a differential combinator which axiomatizes the directional derivative. Important models of Cartesian differential categories include classical differential calculus of smooth functions and categorical models of the differential $\lambda$-calculus. However, Cartesian differential categories cannot account for other interesting notions of differentiation of a more discrete nature such as the calculus of finite differences. On the other hand, change action models have been shown to capture these examples as well as more "exotic" examples of differentiation. But change action models are very general and do not share the nice properties of Cartesian differential categories. In this paper, we introduce Cartesian difference categories as a bridge between Cartesian differential categories and change action models. We show that every Cartesian differential category is a Cartesian difference category, and how certain well-behaved change action models are Cartesian difference categories. In particular, Cartesian difference categories model both the differential calculus of smooth functions and the calculus of finite differences. Furthermore, every Cartesian difference category comes equipped with a tangent bundle monad whose Kleisli category is again a Cartesian difference category.

3. Controlling a random population

Thomas Colcombet ; Nathanaël Fijalkow ; Pierre Ohlmann.
Bertrand et al. introduced a model of parameterised systems, where each agent is represented by a finite state system, and studied the following control problem: for any number of agents, does there exist a controller able to bring all agents to a target state? They showed that the problem is decidable and EXPTIME-complete in the adversarial setting, and posed as an open problem the stochastic setting, where the agent is represented by a Markov decision process. In this paper, we show that the stochastic control problem is decidable. Our solution makes significant uses of well quasi orders, of the max-flow min-cut theorem, and of the theory of regular cost functions. We introduce an intermediate problem of independence interest called the sequential flow problem and study its complexity.

4. A duality theoretic view on limits of finite structures: Extended version

Mai Gehrke ; Tomáš Jakl ; Luca Reggio.
A systematic theory of structural limits for finite models has been developed by Nesetril and Ossona de Mendez. It is based on the insight that the collection of finite structures can be embedded, via a map they call the Stone pairing, in a space of measures, where the desired limits can be computed. We show that a closely related but finer grained space of (finitely additive) measures arises -- via Stone-Priestley duality and the notion of types from model theory -- by enriching the expressive power of first-order logic with certain "probabilistic operators". We provide a sound and complete calculus for this extended logic and expose the functorial nature of this construction. The consequences are two-fold. On the one hand, we identify the logical gist of the theory of structural limits. On the other hand, our construction shows that the duality theoretic variant of the Stone pairing captures the adding of a layer of quantifiers, thus making a strong link to recent work on semiring quantifiers in logic on words. In the process, we identify the model theoretic notion of types as the unifying concept behind this link. These results contribute to bridging the strands of logic in computer science which focus on semantics and on more algorithmic and complexity related areas, respectively.

5. Higher Order Automatic Differentiation of Higher Order Functions

Mathieu Huot ; Sam Staton ; Matthijs Vákár.
We present semantic correctness proofs of automatic differentiation (AD). We consider a forward-mode AD method on a higher order language with algebraic data types, and we characterise it as the unique structure preserving macro given a choice of derivatives for basic operations. We describe a rich semantics for differentiable programming, based on diffeological spaces. We show that it interprets our language, and we phrase what it means for the AD method to be correct with respect to this semantics. We show that our characterisation of AD gives rise to an elegant semantic proof of its correctness based on a gluing construction on diffeological spaces. We explain how this is, in essence, a logical relations argument. Throughout, we show how the analysis extends to AD methods for computing higher order derivatives using a Taylor approximation.

6. Quotients, inductive types, and quotient inductive types

Marcelo P. Fiore ; Andrew M. Pitts ; S. C. Steenkamp.
This paper introduces an expressive class of indexed quotient-inductive types, called QWI types, within the framework of constructive type theory. They are initial algebras for indexed families of equational theories with possibly infinitary operators and equations. We prove that QWI types can be derived from quotient types and inductive types in the type theory of toposes with natural number object and universes, provided those universes satisfy the Weakly Initial Set of Covers (WISC) axiom. We do so by constructing QWI types as colimits of a family of approximations to them defined by well-founded recursion over a suitable notion of size, whose definition involves the WISC axiom. We developed the proof and checked it using the Agda theorem prover.

7. Computability of Data-Word Transductions over Different Data Domains

Léo Exibard ; Emmanuel Filiot ; Nathan Lhote ; Pierre-Alain Reynier.
In this paper, we investigate the problem of synthesizing computable functions of infinite words over an infinite alphabet (data $\omega$-words). The notion of computability is defined through Turing machines with infinite inputs which can produce the corresponding infinite outputs in the limit. We use non-deterministic transducers equipped with registers, an extension of register automata with outputs, to describe specifications. Being non-deterministic, such transducers may not define functions but more generally relations of data $\omega$-words. In order to increase the expressive power of these machines, we even allow guessing of arbitrary data values when updating their registers. For functions over data $\omega$-words, we identify a sufficient condition (the possibility of determining the next letter to be outputted, which we call next letter problem) under which computability (resp. uniform computability) and continuity (resp. uniform continuity) coincide. We focus on two kinds of data domains: first, the general setting of oligomorphic data, which encompasses any data domain with equality, as well as the setting of rational numbers with linear order; and second, the set of natural numbers equipped with linear order. For both settings, we prove that functionality, i.e. determining whether the relation recognized by the transducer is actually a function, is decidable. We also show that the so-called next letter problem is decidable, yielding equivalence […]