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Fixpoint Theory – Upside Down

by   Paolo Baldan, et al.

Knaster-Tarski's theorem, characterising the greatest fixpoint of a monotone function over a complete lattice as the largest post-fixpoint, naturally leads to the so-called coinduction proof principle for showing that some element is below the greatest fixpoint (e.g., for providing bisimilarity witnesses). The dual principle, used for showing that an element is above the least fixpoint, is related to inductive invariants. In this paper we provide proof rules which are similar in spirit but for showing that an element is above the greatest fixpoint or, dually, below the least fixpoint. The theory is developed for non-expansive monotone functions on suitable lattices of the form 𝕄^Y, where Y is a finite set and 𝕄 an MV-algebra, and it is based on the construction of (finitary) approximations of the original functions. We show that our theory applies to a wide range of examples, including termination probabilities, behavioural distances for probabilistic automata and bisimilarity. Moreover, quite interestingly, it allows us to determine original algorithms for solving simple stochastic games.


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