Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages | VOL. 6
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Aeneas: Rust verification by functional translation

Publication Date Aug 29, 2022

Abstract

We present Aeneas, a new verification toolchain for Rust programs based on a lightweight functional translation. We leverage Rust’s rich region-based type system to eliminate memory reasoning for a large class of Rust programs, as long as they do not rely on interior mutability or unsafe code. Doing so, we relieve the proof engineer of the burden of memory-based reasoning, allowing them to instead focus on functional properties of their code. The first contribution of Aeneas is a new approach to borrows and controlled aliasing. We propose a pure, functional semantics for LLBC, a Low-Level Borrow Calculus that captures a large subset of Rust programs. Our semantics is value-based, meaning there is no notion of memory, addresses or pointer arithmetic. Our semantics is also ownership-centric, meaning that we enforce soundness of borrows via a semantic criterion based on loans rather than through a syntactic type-based lifetime discipline. We claim that our semantics captures the essence of the borrow mechanism rather than its current implementation in the Rust compiler. The second contribution of Aeneas is a translation from LLBC to a pure lambda-calculus. This allows the user to reason about the original Rust program through the theorem prover of their choice, and fulfills our promise of enabling lightweight verification of Rust programs. To deal with the well-known technical difficulty of terminating a borrow, we rely on a novel approach, in which we approximate the borrow graph in the presence of function...

Concepts

Rust Programs Notion Of Memory Unsafe Code Pointer Arithmetic Notion Of Arithmetic Rich Type System Current Implementation Verification Of Programs Class Of Programs Rich Type

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