A verified messaging system

William Mansky, Andrew W. Appel, Aleksey Nogin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We present a concurrent-read exclusive-write buffer system with strong correctness and security properties. Our motivating application for this system is the distribution of sensor values in a multicomponent vehicle-control system, where some components are unverified and possibly malicious, and other components are vehicle-control-critical and must be verified. Valid participants are guaranteed correct communication (i.e., the writer is always able to write to an unused buffer, and readers always read the most recently published value), while invalid readers or writers cannot compromise the correctness or liveness of valid participants. There is only one writer, all operations are wait-free, and there is no extra process or thread mediating communication. We prove the correctness of the system with valid participants by formally verifying a C implementation of the system in Coq, using the Verified Software Toolchain extended with an atomic exchange operation. The result is the first C-level mechanized verification of a nonblocking communication protocol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number87
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages
Issue numberOOPSLA
StatePublished - Oct 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


  • Concurrent separation logic
  • Shared-memory communication
  • Shared-memory concurrency


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