In this example, we implement a “sliding window”. This is an array that stores a range of values from an unbounded sequence. The window provides an operation trim that moves the window offset forward, forgetting the values between the old and new offsets. This structure might be useful for keeping a log of events that is occasionally truncated at the beginning, or for maintaining a window of packets in an ordered transport protocol.

From the point of view of decidability, the main problem that we need to solve is hiding the arithmetic needed to express the representation invariant. That is, if s is our sequence, w is the window and T is the offset of the window, then we want to say “for all positions I in the sequence, if I >= T then s[I] = w[I-T]”. Unfortunately, this use of arithmetic would put us outside the decidable fragment, since we are applying subtraction to universally quantified variables. Thus, we will hide the function I-T in an isolate, using an uninterpreted relation to represent it and proving just the properties of this relation needed to implement our window operations.


We will need the order and collections libraries for arrays.

include order
include collections

Shift relation

In order to “slide” the window, we need a relation that describes a “shift” in the sequence. The module shift_theory below provides a relation r(T,X,Y) that holds when X = Y + T. The idea is that T is the amount of left-shift, X is an element of the original sequence, and Y is the corresponding element of the shifted sequence.

The module provides an action f that, given T,X, returns Y. This action can be used to find an element in the shifted sequence. By hiding the arithmetic in this action, we can avoid using arithmetic in the sliding window implementation.

The module takes a parameter idx which must be is an ordered sequence type.

module shift_theory(idx) = {

The interface provides the shift relation r an an action f that computes the shift (that is, subtracts t from x, to get the position of x relative to offset t).

    relation r(T : idx, X : idx, Y : idx)
    action f(t:idx,x:idx) returns (y:idx)

    specification {

We need the following properties of the r relation:

  1. It is a partial function from X to Y
  2. It is a partial function from Y to X
  3. It is increasing in X
  4. It is decreasing in T
  5. It is preserved by successor
  6. For T = 0, it is the identity relation
  7. Indices are non-negative, so Y <= X and T <= X.

Property 2 isn’t actually needed, but it might be helpful in other uses of this module. Several of these properties were added in response to counterexamples in verifying the sliding window implementation below.

	property r(T,X,Y) & r(T,X,Y1) -> Y = Y1
	property r(T,X,Y) & r(T,X1,Y) -> X = X1
	property r(T,X1,Y1) & r(T,X2,Y2) & X1 < X2 -> Y1 < Y2
	property r(T1,X,Y1) & r(T2,X,Y2) & T1 < T2 -> Y2 < Y1
        property r(T,X1,Y1) & idx.succ(X1,X2) & idx.succ(Y1,Y2) -> r(T,X2,Y2)
        property r(0,X,X)
        property r(T,X,Y) -> Y <= X & T <= X

The action f returns a y such that r(t,x,y), assuming t <= x. Note that for positions less than the offset, there is no index in the shifted sequence (that is, positions less than the offset are not in the window,

	around f {
           require t <= x;
	   ensure r(t,x,y)

    } # end specification section

In the implementation section, we give the definition of r (which is needed to prove the properties above) and give the implementation of f.

    implementation {
        definition r(T,X,Y) = (X = Y + T)
        implement f {
            y := x - t

We make this module an isolate, and say with idx.impl to use the implementation of idx. This gives us the natural number theory, which is needed to prove the above properties. Note it’s very important not to say with idx here, since the specification of ordered_sequence (see order.ivy) contains various universally quantified properties that, when mixed with arithmetic, would put us outside the decidable fragment.

    isolate iso = this with idx.impl

Now we define our sliding window module. It takes as parameters an ordered sequence type for indices and a data type for the sequence elements.

module window(idx,data) = {

The interface provides a relation value(I,D), indicating the data value D occurs at position I in the original sequence. The window contains the range of values in the index interval [begin,end).

    relation value(I:idx,D:data)
    individual begin : idx
    individual end : idx

Three operations are provided:

  1. append adds one element to the original sequence, increasing end by one.
  2. read gets an element of the original sequence
  3. trim increases the value of begin
    action append(d:data)
    action read(i:idx) returns (d:data)
    action trim(i:idx)

    specification {

Initially, the sequence is empty, so begin = end = 0.

        after init {
            begin := 0;
            end := 0;
            value(I,D) := false

Appending a value adds it to the end of the sequence.

        after append {
            value(end,d) := true;
            end :=

Reading the value of an index in the interval [begin,end) returns the sequence value at that index.

        around read {
            require begin <= i & i < end;
            ensure value(i,d)

Trim can be called with any index in the range [begin,end). It has the effect of setting begin to this index.

        around trim {
            require begin <= i & i <= end;
            begin := i;

The specification maintains a few useful invariants.

        invariant begin <= end
        invariant value(I,D1) & value(I,D2) -> D1 = D2
        invariant value(I,D) -> 0 <= I & I < end

    implementation {

The implementation uses an instance of shift_theory and arrays over the index type.

        instance shift : shift_theory(idx)
        instance arr : array(idx,data)

The implementation state consists of an array content of values beginning at offset and ending at bound. Notice the bound is redundant, since it can be computed from offset and content.end. Using it makes the invariants a bit simpler, however.

        var offset : idx
        var bound : idx
        var content : arr

Initially the offset is zero and the array is empty.

        after init {
            offset := 0;
            bound := 0;
            content := arr.empty

Append is implemented using a simple array append, adding on element to the end of the array.

        implement append {
            content := content.append(d);
            bound :=;

Read is implement using the shift.f function to compute the position within the window of the requested sequence element.

        implement read {
            d := content.value(shift.f(offset,i))

Trim is implemented by shifting the array down in place. The loop index j runs from the new offset i up to bound. The shift.f action is used to compute the corresponding positions in the new and old windows. The invariant says that above the loop index the array values are correct for the old window, and below it they are correct for the new window. After shifting the data, the array is resized to reflect the new window size, and the offset is updated to the requested value.

        implement trim {
            var j := i;
            while j < bound
            invariant i <= j & j <= bound & shift.r(offset,bound,content.end)
            invariant j <= X & X < bound & shift.r(offset,X,Y) -> value(X,content.value(Y))
            invariant X < j & shift.r(i,X,Y) -> value(X,content.value(Y))
                content := content.set(shift.f(i,j),content.value(shift.f(offset,j)));
                j :=;
            content := content.resize(shift.f(i,bound),0);
            offset := i


These invariants relate the implementation and specification state. They are private to this module.

    private {
        invariant offset = begin & bound = end
        invariant shift.r(offset,end,content.end)
        invariant shift.r(offset,X,Y) & X < end -> value(X,content.value(Y))

Notice that in this isolate we use the public properties of the index type, and not its implementation as the natural numbers.

    isolate iso = this with idx

Now we instantiate the module just to check the proof.

instance idx : unbounded_sequence
type data
instance w : window(idx,data)

As always, we have to export actions we want to verify.

export w.append
export w.trim