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Supporting domain-specific state space reductions through local partial-order reduction

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Model checkers offer to automatically prove safety and liveness properties of complex concurrent software systems, but they are limited by state space explosion. Partial-Order Reduction (POR) is an effective technique to mitigate this burden. However, applying existing notions of POR requires to verify conditions based on execution paths of unbounded length, a difficult task in general. To enable a more intuitive and still flexible application of POR, we propose local POR (LPOR). LPOR is based on the existing notion of statically computed stubborn sets, but its locality allows to verify conditions in single states rather than over long paths. As a case study, we apply LPOR to message-passing systems. We implement it within the Java Pathfinder model checker using our general Java-based LPOR library. Our experiments show significant reductions achieved by LPOR for model checking representative message-passing protocols and, maybe surprisingly, that LPOR can outperform dynamic POR. © 2011 IEEE.