Verified Programming Of Turing Machines In Coq

Saarland University Computer Science

Bachelor's Thesis

Author: Maximilian Wuttke
Advisor: Yannick Forster

Abstract

Turing machines build the traditional foundation of the theory of computation and complexity. However, concrete Turing machines are often only sketched out. Even if authors define the complete machine, they leave the invariants to figure out for the reader. Moreover, it is common to employ the Church-Turing thesis, to (informally) conclude that a function is Turing-computable. Reasons for that are manifold. Turing machines are very low-level, because the operations on tapes are primitive. They are also non-compositional; control-flow operators like sequential composition and loops are not available. Reasoning about invariants and concrete machine states is tedious, because the execution of the machine could proceed from one state of the machine to any other state; the set of states may also be huge for complex machines.

In this thesis, we fill these gaps. We present a framework developed in the theorem prover Coq, in that we can define, specify, and formally verify multi-tape Turing machines. The framework eases programming and verification of Turing machines, because it provides abstractions like values and control-flow operators. We showcase the power of this framework by programming and verifying a multi-tape Turing machine that simulates a two-stack machine for the call-by-value λ-calculus.

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