On-the-fly reachability and cycle detection for recursive state machines

Rajeev Alur, Swarat Chaudhuri, Kousha Etessami, P. Madhusudan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Searching the state space of a system using enumerative and on-the-fly depth-first traversal is an established technique for model checking finite-state systems. In this paper, we propose algorithms for on-the-fly exploration of recursive state machines, or equivalently pushdown systems, which are suited for modeling the behavior of procedural programs. We present algorithms for reachability (is a bad state reachable?) as well as for fair cycle detection (is there a reachable cycle with progress?). We also report on an implementation of these algorithms to check safety and liveness properties of recursive boolean programs, and its performance on existing benchmarks.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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