List of model checking tools

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This article lists model checking tools and gives an overview of the functionality of each.

Overview of some model checking tools[edit]

The following table includes model checkers that have

  1. a web site from which it can be downloaded,
  2. a declared license,
  3. a description published in archived literature, and
  4. a Wikipedia article describing it.

In the below table, the following abbreviations are used:

  • Equivalences:
    • SB: Strong Bisimulation
    • WB: Weak Bisimulation
    • BB: Branching Bisimulation
    • STE: Strong Trace Equivalence
    • WTE: Weak Trace Equivalence
    • me: May Equivalence
    • ME: Must Equivalence
    • OE: Observational Equivalence
    • SE: Safety Equivalence
    • t*E: tau*.a Equivalence
  • Software license:
    • FUSC: Free Under Specific Condition (e.g., free for academics)
Name Model Checking Equivalence checking GUI Availability
Plain, Probabilistic, Stochastic, ... Modelling language Properties language Supported equivalences Counter example generation   GUI   Graphical Specification Counter example visualization Software license Programming language used Platform / OS
BLAST Code analysis C Monitor automata Yes No No No Free OCaml Windows and Unix related
CADP Plain and probabilistic LOTOS, FC2, FSP, LNT AFMC, MCL, XTL SB, WB, BB, OE, STE, WTE, SE, tau*E Yes Yes No Yes FUSC C, Bourne shell, Tcl/Tk, LOTOS, LNT Mac OS, Linux, Solaris, Windows
CPAchecker Code analysis C Monitor automata Yes Yes No Yes Free Java Any
DREAM Real-time C++, Timed automata Monitor automata Yes No No No Free C++ Windows and Unix related
Java Pathfinder Plain and timed Java unknown No Yes No No Open Source Agreement Java Mac OS, Windows, Linux
Murφ (Murphi) Plain Murφ Invariants, Assertions Yes No No No Free C++ Linux
NuSMV Plain SMV input language CTL, LTL, PSL Yes No No No Free C Unix, Windows, Mac OS X
PAT Plain,Real-time,Probabilistic CSP#, Timed CSP, Probabilistic CSP LTL, Assertions Yes Yes Yes Yes Free C# Windows, other OS with Mono
PRISM Probabilistic PEPA, PRISM language, Plain MC CSL, PLTL, PCTL No Yes No No Free C++, Java Windows, Linux, Mac OS
SPIN Plain Promela LTL Yes Yes No Yes FUSC C, C++ Windows and Unix related
TAPAAL Real-time Timed-Arc Petri Nets, age invariants, inhibitor arcs, transport arcs TCTL subset No Yes Yes Yes Free C++, Java Mac OS, Windows, Linux
TAPAs Plain CCSP CTL, μ-calculus SB, WB, BB, STE, WTE, me, ME, OE Yes Yes Yes Yes Free Java Windows, Mac OS and Unix related
UPPAAL Real-time Timed automata, C subset TCTL subset Yes Yes Yes Yes FUSC C++, Java Mac OS, Windows, Linux
ROMEO Real-time Time Petri Nets, stopwatch parametric Petri nets TCTL subset Yes Yes Yes No Free C++, tcl/tk Mac OS, Windows, Linux
TLA+ Model Checker (TLC) Plain TLA+, PlusCal TLA Yes Yes Yes No Free Java Mac OS, Windows, Linux

Modelling languages[edit]

  • CCSP: A process calculus obtained from CCS by incorporating some operators of CSP. It is defined by Olderog[1] and by van Glabbeek/Vaandrager.[2]
  • CSP: Communicating sequential processes; formal language for describing patterns of interaction in concurrent systems. FDR2 is a refinement checking tool for CSP, comparing two models for compatibility.
  • DVE input language: a system is described as Network of Extended Finite State Machines communicating via shared variables and unbuffered channels. Does not contain support for buffered channels and for checking the type of message to be received without performing the receive proper.
  • FC2: (Common Format V2) Machine-level ASCII representation for synchronized (hierarchical) networks of automata. Defined by the Esprit Basic Research Action CONCUR, 1992. Used as an input and exchange format by a number of verification tools, mainly in the area of process algebras.
  • FSP: Finite State Processes language defined at Imperial College.
  • Java: Object-oriented programming language.
  • LNT: LOTOS New Technology; a specification language inspired by process calculi, functional programming languages, and imperative programming languages; LNT was designed as a modern replacement for LOTOS and E-LOTOS.
  • LOTOS: Language Of Temporal Ordering Specification (ISO standard 8807); formal specification language based on temporal ordering used for protocol specification in ISO OSI standards.
  • Murφ: Guarded commands and an asynchronous, interleaving model of concurrency, with all synchronization and communication done through global variables.
  • PEPA: Performance Evaluation Process Algebra; it is a stochastic process algebra designed for modelling computer and communication systems.
  • Plain MC: simple text-file formats used in MRMC and PRISM.
  • Promela: Process or Protocol Meta Language; it is a verification modeling language. The language allows for the dynamic creation of concurrent processes to model, for example, distributed systems.
  • TLA+: General-purpose specification language based on the Temporal Logic of Actions, originally used for distributed and concurrent systems. The language for the specifications and their properties is the same.

Properties language[edit]

  • AFMC: Alternation-Free modal μ-calculus.
  • Assertions: Imperative assertion statements.
  • CSL: Continuous Stochastic Logic, characterizes bisimulation of continuous-time Markov processes.
  • CSRL: Continuous Stochastic Reward Logic; a logic to specify measures over CTMCs extended with a reward structure (so-called Markov reward models).
  • CTL: Computation Tree Logic; a branching-time logic, meaning that its model of time is a tree-like structure in which the future is not determined; there are different paths in the future, any one of which might be an actual path that is realized.
  • Invariants: Predicates over a system state.
  • LTL: Linear temporal logic; a modal temporal logic with modalities referring to time.
  • MCL: Model Checking Language; Alternation-Free Modal μ-calculus extended with user-friendly regular expressions and value-passing constructs; subsumes CTL and LTL.
  • mCRL2 mu-calculus: Kozen's propositional modal μ-calculus (excluding atomic propositions), extended with: data-depended processes, quantification over data types, multi-actions, time, and regular formulas.
  • PCTL: Probabilistic CTL; an extension of CTL which allows for probabilistic quantification of described properties.
  • PLTL: Probabilistic Linear Temporal Logic.
  • PRCTL: Probabilistic Reward Computation Tree Logic; it extends PCTL with reward-bounded properties.
  • PSL: Property specification language
  • SVA: SystemVerilog standards assertion language subset, standardized as IEEE 1800
  • XTL: eXtended Temporal Language; a domain-specific language for quickly implementing action-based, explicit-state, value-passing model checkers.

Comparison of model checking tools[edit]

Scientific publications[edit]

There exists a few papers that systematically compare various model checkers on a common case study. The comparison usually discusses the modelling tradeoffs faced when using the input languages of each model checker, as well as the comparison of performances of the tools when verifying correctness properties. One can mention:

  • In 1999, Judi Romijn compared two model checkers (CADP and SPIN) on the HAVi interoperability audio-video protocol for consumer electronics.[3]
  • In 2003, Yifei Dong, Xiaoqun Du, Gerard J. Holzmann, and Scott A. Smolka published a comparison of four model checkers (namely: Cospan, Murphi, SPIN, and XMC) on a communication protocol, the GNU i-protocol.[4]
  • In 2005, Elena M. Bortnik, Nikola Trcka, Anton Wijs, Bas Luttik, J. M. van de Mortel-Fronczak, Jos C. M. Baeten, Wan Fokkink, and J. E. Rooda published a comparison of four model checkers (namely: CADP, muCRL, SPIN, and UPPAAL) on an industrial manufacturing system, a rotating drilling machine.[5]
  • In 2018, F. Mazzanti and A. Ferrari published a comparison of ten model checkers (namely: CADP, CPN Tools, FDR4, NuSMV/nuXmv, mCRL2, ProB, SPIN, TLA+, UMC, and UPPAAL) on a train supervision problem, taking into account both the user-friendliness of the languages and the performance of the tools.[6]

International software competitions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ E.R. Olderog: Operational Petri net semantics for CCSP
  2. ^ Rob van Glabbeek, Frits Vaandrager: Bundle Event Structures and CCSP
  3. ^ Romijn, Judi (June 1999). Model Checking a HAVi Leader Election Protocol (Technical report). Amsterdam: CWI. SEN-R9915. Archived from the original on 2019-09-11. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  4. ^ Dong, Yifei; Du, Xiaoqun; Holzmann, Gerard; Smolka, Scott (2003). "Fighting Livelock in the GNU i-Protocol: A Case Study in Explicit-State Model Checking". Software Tool for Technology Transfer. 4 (4): 505–528.
  5. ^ Bortnik, Elena M.; Trcka, Nikola; Wijs, Anton; Luttik, Bas; van de Mortel-Fronczak, J. M.; Baeten, Jos C. M.; Fokkink, Wan; Rooda, J. E. (2005). "Analyzing a chi model of a turntable system using Spin, CADP and Uppaal" (PDF). Journal of Logical and Algebraic Methods in Programming. 65 (2): 51–104. doi:10.1016/j.jlap.2005.05.001. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-01-27. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  6. ^ Mazzanti, Franco; Ferrari, Alessio (2018). "Ten Diverse Formal Models for a CBTC Automatic Train Supervision System". Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Models for Formal Analysis of Real Systems and 6th International Workshop on Verification and Program Transformation (MARS/VPT’18), Thessaloniki, Greece. Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science. Vol. 268. pp. 104–149. arXiv:1803.10324v1. doi:10.4204/EPTCS.268.4.

External links[edit]

Common benchmarks
  • MCC (models of the Model Checking Contest): a collection of hundreds of Petri nets originating from many academic and industrial case studies.
  • VLTS (Very Large Transition Systems): a collection of Labelled Transition Systems of increasing sizes, used in many scientific publications.