Running TLAPS

  How TLAPS Works
  Running the Proof Manager
  Stopping a Proof
  How the Toolbox Displays the Status of Proofs
     The Status of Obligations
     Logical Colors and Color Predicates
     Interesting Obligations
     Updating Proof Statuses
  Finding Errors
  Advanced Topics
     Advanced Execution Preferences
     The Launch Prover Command
     User-Defined Color Predicates

How TLAPS Works

TLAPS consists of a Proof Manager (PM) and various back-end provers.  In TLA+, a proof of a theorem or proof step is either a leaf proof or a sequence of steps, each of which may have a proof.  The PM translates a proof into a collection of obligations whose correctness implies the correctness of the proof.  A proof's obligations include the obligations of each subproof.  The PM calls one or more back-end provers to prove the obligations.  It then displays with colors the proof status of of each theorem or proof step whose proof it has checked.  The proof status of a step or theorem is determined by which of its proof's obligations the back-end provers succeeded in proving.  The section titled How the Toolbox Displays the Status of Proofs explains how you can completely customize the colors and their significance.

Running the Proof Manager

Foremost, see the TLA+ Preferences → TLAPS preference page and assure that the Toolbox knows where your tlapm has been installed; if it doesn't, you will see a notification like:

If this is the case, click on the Browse... button and locate your executable.

Note: if the spec currently has syntax or other problems which prevent it from being successfully parsed, the abilty to use the proof manager will remain disabled until the spec is correct and successfully parsed.

To tell the PM to check the proof of a theorem or step, place the cursor (not the mouse pointer) on that theorem or step and execute the command Prove Step or Module.  You can do this either from the menu you obtain by right-clicking in the module editor, or by typing Ctl+G Ctl+G.  If you execute this command when the cursor is not at a theorem or step, the PM will check all proofs in the module.  The PM can be executed with various options.  You will probably want to use only the default options.  Some that you might want to change for regular use can be set with prefences, as described in the Advanced Execution Preferences subsection below.  Even more esoteric PM options can be invoked using the Launch Prover command described below

The PM remembers the outcome of the back-end provers' attempts to prove each obligation.  If the PM finds that an obligation has already been proved, its default behavior is to accept it as true and not send it again to a back-end prover.  Checking if an obligation has already been proved is fast, so there is no harm telling the PM to prove something it has already proved. 

If something mysterious happens when running the PM and you think something has gone wrong, you can try looking at the TLAPM console, which you can display by using the  TLA Proof Manager  menu at the top of the Toolbox window.  It shows the output that the PM sends to the Toolbox.

Stopping a Proof

When executing the PM, you can stop an individual proof or the entire execution.  As explained below, the Toolbox shows obligations that a prover has been trying to prove for a while.  You can tell PM to stop proving that obligation by clicking on the Stop Proving button at the top of the obligation.  You can stop the entire execution by clicking on the Cancel button of the Prover Launch dialog.

Note: If you check Always run in background on the Prover Launch dialog, that dialog will stop popping up when you run the PM.  To get it back, go to File/Preferences/General and uncheck the Always run in background preference.

How the Toolbox Displays the Status of Proofs

The Status of Obligations

The PM displays with colors the proof status of steps and theorems whose proofs it checks.  The status of a step or theorem depends on the results of checking its proof obligations.  For each back-end prover and each obligation, there are five possible statuses of the checking of that obligation by that prover:

The prover has not tried to prove the obligation.

proving (also called being proved)
The prover is currently trying to prove the obligation.
The prover successfully proved the obligation.

The prover was unable to prove the obligation.

The user stopped the prover while it was trying to prove the obligation. How this is done is explained in section Interesting Obligations below.
TLA+ allows the leaf "proof":
which indicates that the user has explicitly chosen to omit the proof.  In this case, the step is considered to have a dummy obligation whose status is omitted.  TLA+ also allows incomplete proofs in which some proofs are missing, usually because they have yet to be written.  In this case, the step is considered to have a dummy obligation whose status is missing

Logical Colors and Color Predicates

A step is colored with one of 12 logical colors, numbered from 1 through 12, or else is uncolored.  Each logical color has an associated color predicate which is either true or false, depending on the statuses of the step's proof obligations.  The step is colored with the lowest-numbered color whose color predicate is true, or is left uncolored if all the color predicates are false.  Here is a picture of the the TLAPS → Color Predicates preference page showing the 12 colors and their default color predicates:


The predicate for color 4 is true if and only if the user stopped a back-end prover while it was proving one of the proof's obligations.  The predicate for color 7 is true if and only if every obligation of the proof was either proved by some back-end prover or is an omitted obligation (a dummy obligation with status omitted).  The predicate none is never true.  The menu allows you to set a color's predicate to one of a number of predefined predicates or to one of six user-defined predicates named user-defined A, ... , user-defined F.  In addition to the predefined color predicates, you can also choose any of six user-defined predicates.  The subsection User-Defined Color Predicates below explains how to define those color predicates.

A color's predicate can be set to be true only for leaf steps (or theorems)--ones with no substeps--by checking the  Applies to Leaf Steps Only  field.  The  Show Leaf Steps in Side Bar  field indicates if leaf steps colored with that logical color should be highlighted by a mark on the right-hand side of the module editor, next to the appropriate point in the vertical scroll bar.  (These two choices are independent of one another.) 

The picture shows the default physical colors corresponding to the logical colors.  You can change a color by clicking on the appropriate colored button on the preference page. 

Interesting Obligations

When checking a proof, the Toolbox displays interesting obligations in a separate window.  Here is what can make an obligation interesting:

Clicking on an interesting obligation displays the location in the module that generated the obligation. 

The obligation is a TLA+ representation of the exact mathematical fact that the back-end prover is required to prove.  The back-end prover sees nothing except what the displayed obligation contains.  For example, suppose your specification defines Two by

   Two == 2
A back-end prover will have no way of proving the obligation
   1+1 = Two
because it has no idea what Two means.  A proof that generates this obligation is incorrect because it fails to indicate that the definition of Two must be used. 

Updating Proof Statuses

When the proof is finished, either because there are no more obligations to be checked or you have canceled the command from the Prover Launch dialog, the colors shown in the module editor reflect the correct status of the proof(s) that were checked.  Making a change to the module can change the obligations the PM generates for a proof, changing the proof status of steps.  For example, changing the definition of a symbol is likely to change the obligations for the proof of any formula containing that symbol.  A step's color is not changed to reflect changes to the module.  You can edit the module while running a proof, but the proof is performed on the module as it was when TLAPS was launched. 

Calling the PM to check the proof of a step (or a proof containing that step) causes the step's color to be updated appropriately.  (Remember that this entails no further proving if the proof's obligations have not changed.)  You can also use the Check Status of Step or Module command (Ctl+G Ctl+T) to update proof step colors.  This works just like the Prove Step or Module command, except it does not do any proving.  It just computes the indicated steps' proof statuses based on the status of its obligations obtained from proofs it has already attempted.  (It too displays interesting obligations.) 

You can edit the module while the Check Status command is running.  You can therefore issue the command to update the status of all the module's proofs and let it run while you continue editing a proof.  A step's color will be determined by the module's contents when the command was issued. 

Finding Errors

There are some errors in a proof that are detected by the PM before sending a proof, or a proof obligation, to the back-end provers.  These can be actual mistakes in the proof--for example, using a TAKE step when the current goal is not a universally quantified formula.  They can also be TLA+ features not supported by TLAPS, such as quantification over tuples, as in   \A <<x, y, z>> \in S : ... .

Currently, the Toolbox does not always properly report errors found by the PM.  When you encounter a problem whose cause you can't figure out, try looking at the TLAPS Console Log, which can be displayed from the TLA Proof Manager menu.

Advanced Topics

Advanced Execution Preferences

The TLAPS → Other Preferences preference page allows you to specify the following Proof Manager options.
Number of Threads
The PM normally uses as many processors (cores) as your computer possesses.  You may want to tell it to use fewer processors, which you can do by setting this field appropriately.

SMT Solver
The Proof Manager can be directed to use an SMT solver as a back-end prover.  This option tells the PM what SMT solver to use.  See the SMT solvers section of the Tactics page.  (This field specifies the argument of the PM's --solver option.)

Do not trust previous results from earlier versions of provers
Selecting this option causes the PM to forget about previous results of checking obligations obtained by earlier versions of back-end provers.  You would select this option and redo your proofs if you are afraid that bugs in an earlier version of one of the back-end provers could have caused it to report that it had proved an incorrect obligation.

The Launch Prover Command

The Launch Prover Command (Ctl+G Ctl+P) can be used to execute the PM with options that cannot be specified by using the ordinary Prove Step Or Module command with appropriate preference settings.  Issuing this command raises a dialog with which you choose the PM options from the following selections. 

Launch in Toolbox Mode

This is the normal option.  It causes the PM to determine what proof(s) it checks just as it does for the ordinary Prove Step or Module command.  Without it (or appropriate options provided in the Enter additional tlapm command-line arguments field), the PM will check the entire module and will uncolor all proof steps.

Chose prover(s) to use

You must choose one of these options:
Use Isabelle only if necessary
Do not have Isabelle check an obligation that has already been proved by another back-end prover.  This is the normal option. 

No proving
Do not call any back-end prover.

Check Zenon proofs with Isabelle
Use Isabelle to check proofs of obligations produced by Zenon.

Do not use Isabelle
The PM will use Zenon or any other backend prover it should except Isabelle.  It will not use Isabelle even if the proof specifies that an Isabelle tactic should be used to check a proof.

Using previous results

You must choose one of these options:
Use previous results
Accept the results previously obtained by back-end provers.  This means that a back-end prover will not be called to prove an obligation if it already succeeded or failed when trying to prove the obligation.  This is the normal option. 

Forget all previous results
Causes the PM to erase from its memory the results of all previous attempts by back-end provers to prove obligations.

Forget currently selected previous results
Causes the PM to erase from its memory the results of all previous attempts by back-end provers to prove obligations of the currently-selected proof(s).  If you think that the PM has gotten confused about the proof status of an obligation, use this option together with the No proving option to get it to forget the status and do nothing else.

Paranoid checking

This tells the PM to call Isabelle to prove obligations that the PM believes are trivially true and don't need to be proved.

Enter additional tlapm command-line arguments

Tlapm is the program that implements the Proof Manager.  Do not even think of using this field unless you know what command-line options tlapm accepts.  The field allows you to write additional options exactly the way they are written as command-line options for tlapm.  These command-line options are appended to the ones generated by the Advanced Execution Preferences and by the selections made in the rest of the dialog.  If you are thinking about using this field, you can probably figure out what those options are.  However, you will probably want to specify all the options yourself in this field.  To cause the preference page to generate no options, use the default settings of the Advanced Execution Preferences: all fields left blank.  To cause the rest of the Launch Prover dialog to generate no options, select only  Do not use Isabelle  and  Use previous results .

User-Defined Color Predicates

The TLAPS → Other Preferences preference page allows you to define color predicates.  You can define almost any color predicate you might want.  Here is a complete explanation of how.  Don't worry if you find the explanation hard to understand.  The Toolbox won't let you enter an illegal definition, and you can experiment until you figure out how to write the definition you want.

At any time, an obligation has a state.  For the dummy obligation representing a missing proof or the proof OMITTED, its state is either missing or omitted.  An ordinary proof obligation's state consists of a status for each prover.  We consider there to be three provers:

The possible statuses of these provers are: The state of an ordinary obligation is written as a triple such as (proving, failed, none), where the value of the ith element is the obligation's proof status for the ith prover.

A color predicate is specified by two things:

An every predicate is true of a proof iff (if and only if) the state of every obligation of the proof is in OS.  A some predicate is true of a proof iff the state of at least one of the proof's obligations is in OS.

A color predicate is specified by a string with the following syntax

   <color-predicate> ::=  ["every" | "some"] <state-set>*

   <state-set> ::= "missing" | "omitted"
                     | "(" <statuses> "," <statuses> "," <statuses> ")"

   <statuses> ::=  <status>* | "-" <status>+
Each <state-set> specifies a set of states, and a sequence of <state-set>s specifies their union.  The <state-set>s "missing" and "omitted" specify the obvious singleton sets of dummy-obligation states.  A <statuses> specifies a set of possible prover statuses as a list, where "-", means all statuses except and the empty list means all possible statuses.  A triple of sequences of statuses specifies the set of all states in which the proof status of the ith prover is one of the statuses in the ith component of the triple.  An empty sequence of statuses is an abbreviation for all possible statuses.  For example, the <state-set>
   (proving proved, untried, )
is the set of all obligation states in which Isabelle's proof status is either proving or proved, the Other prover's status is untried, and the PM's prover status is either none or trivial.  We can write a color predicate that is always true as:
   every missing omitted ( , , )
The color predicate
is false for every proof.  The predicate
   every omitted (proved, , ) (, proved, ) (, , trivial)
is true iff every obligation is either omitted, is proved by Isabelle or the Other prover, or is found trivial by the PM.  The predicate
  some (failed, - proved, none) (- proved, failed, none)
is true for a proof iff, for at least one of its obligations, either Isabelle's status is failed and the Other prover's status is not proved, or vice-versa, and the PM has not found it to be trivial. 
↑ Proofs