13. Release Notes

13.1. Release Notes for version 1.2: new syntax for “auto-dereference”

Version 1.2 introduces a simplified syntax for reference variables, to avoid the somehow heavy OCaml syntax using bang character. In short, this is syntactic sugar summarized in the following table. An example using this new syntax is in examples/isqrt.mlw.

auto-dereference syntax

desugared to

let &x = ... in

let (x: ref ...) = ... in

f x

f x.contents

x <- ...

x.contents <- ...

let ref x = ...

let &x = ref ...

Notice that

  • the & marker adds the typing constraint (x: ref ...);

  • top-level let/val ref and let/val & are allowed;

  • auto-dereferencing works in logic, but such variables cannot be introduced inside logical terms.

That syntactic sugar is further extended to pattern matching, function parameters, and reference passing, as follows.

auto-dereference syntax

desugared to

match e with (x,&y) -> y end

match e with (x,(y: ref ...)) -> y.contents end

let incr (&x: ref int) =
  x <- x + 1

let f () =
  let ref x = 0 in
  incr x;
let incr (x: ref int) =
  x.contents <- x.contents + 1

let f () =
  let x = ref 0 in
  incr x;

let incr (ref x: int) ...

let incr (&x: ref int) ...

The type annotation is not required. Let-functions with such formal parameters also prevent the actual argument from auto-dereferencing when used in logic. Pure logical symbols cannot be declared with such parameters.

Auto-dereference suppression does not work in the middle of a relation chain: in 0 < x :< 17, x will be dereferenced even if (:<) expects a ref-parameter on the left.

Finally, that syntactic sugar applies to the caller side:

auto-dereference syntax

desugared to

let f () =
  let ref x = 0 in
  g &x
let f () =
  let x = ref 0 in
  g x

The & marker can only be attached to a variable. Works in logic.

Ref-binders and &-binders in variable declarations, patterns, and function parameters do not require importing ref.Ref. Any example that does not use references inside data structures can be rewritten by using ref-binders, without importing ref.Ref.

Explicit use of type symbol ref, program function ref, or field contents require importing ref.Ref or why3.Ref.Ref. Operations (:=) and (!) require importing ref.Ref.

Operation (:=) is fully subsumed by direct assignment (<-).

13.2. Release Notes for version 1.0: syntax changes w.r.t. 0.88

The syntax of WhyML programs changed in release 1.0. The following table summarizes the changes.

version 0.88

version 1.0

function f ...

let function f ... if called in programs


label L in

at x 'L

x at L

\ x. e

fun x -> e

use HighOrd

not needed anymore

HighOrd.pred ty

ty -> bool

type t model ...

type t = abstract ...

abstract e ensures { Q }

begin ensures { Q } e end

namespace N

scope N

use import M

use M



meta M prop P

meta M lemma P or meta M axiom P or meta M goal P

loop ... end

while true do ... done

type ... invariant { ... self.foo ... }

type ... invariant { ... foo ... }

Note also that logical symbols can no longer be used in non-ghost code; in particular, there is no polymorphic equality in programs anymore, so equality functions must be declared/defined on a per-type basis (already done for type int in the standard library). The CHANGES.md file describes other potential sources of incompatibility.

Here are a few more semantic changes.

Proving only partial correctness:

In versions 0.xx of Why3, when a program function is recursive but not given a variant, or contains a while loop not given a variant, then it was assumed that the user wants to prove partial correctness only. A warning was issued, recommending to add an extra diverges clause to that function’s contract. It was also possible to disable that warning by adding the label "W:diverges:N" to the function’s name. Version 1.0 of Why3 is more aggressively requiring the user to prove the termination of functions which are not given the diverges clause, and the previous warning is now an error. The possibility of proving only partial correctness is now given on a more fine-grain basis: any expression for which one wants to prove partial correctness only, must by annotated with the attribute [@vc:divergent].

In other words, if one was using the following structure in Why3 0.xx:

let f "W:diverges:N" <parameters> <contract> = <body>

then in 1.0 it should be written as

let f <parameters> <contract> = [@vc:divergent] <body>

Semantics of the any construct:

The any construct in Why3 0.xx was introducing an arbitrary value satisfying the associated post-condition. In some sense, this construct was introducing some form of an axiom stating that such a value exists. In Why3 1.0, it is now mandatory to prove the existence of such a value, and a VC is generated for that purpose.

To obtain the effect of the former semantics of the any construct, one should use instead a local val function. In other words, if one was using the following structure in Why3 0.xx:

any t ensures { P }

then in 1.0 it should be written as

val x:t ensures { P } in x

13.3. Release Notes for version 0.80: syntax changes w.r.t. 0.73

The syntax of WhyML programs changed in release 0.80. The following table summarizes the changes.

version 0.73

version 0.80

type t = {| field: int |}

type t = { field~:~int }

{| field = 5 |}

{ field = 5 }

use import module M

use import M

let rec f (x:int) (y:int): t
  variant { t } with rel =
  { P }
  { Q }
  | Exc1 -> { R1 }
  | Exc2 n -> { R2 }
let rec f (x:int) (y:int): t
  variant { t with rel }
  requires { P }
  ensures { Q }
  raises { Exc1 -> R1
         | Exc2 n -> R2 }
= e
val f (x:int) (y:int):
  { P }
  writes a b
  { Q }
  | Exc1 -> { R1 }
  | Exc2 n -> { R2 }
val f (x:int) (y:int): t
  requires { P }
  writes { a, b }
  ensures { Q }
  raises { Exc1 -> R1
         | Exc2 n -> R2 }

abstract e { Q }

abstract e ensures { Q }

13.4. Summary of Changes w.r.t. Why 2

The main new features with respect to Why 2.xx are the following.

  1. Completely redesigned input syntax for logic declarations

    • new syntax for terms and formulas

    • enumerated and algebraic data types, pattern matching

    • recursive definitions of logic functions and predicates, with termination checking

    • inductive definitions of predicates

    • declarations are structured in components called “theories”, which can be reused and instantiated

  2. More generic handling of goals and lemmas to prove

    • concept of proof task

    • generic concept of task transformation

    • generic approach for communicating with external provers

  3. Source code organized as a library with a documented API, to allow access to Why3 features programmatically.

  4. GUI with new features with respect to the former GWhy

    • session save and restore

    • prover calls in parallel

    • splitting, and more generally applying task transformations, on demand

    • ability to edit proofs for interactive provers (Coq only for the moment) on any subtask

  5. Extensible architecture via plugins

    • users can define new transformations

    • users can add connections to additional provers