License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC BY 3.0)
When quoting this document, please refer to the following
DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2016.107
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-62425
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Barthe, Gilles ; Gaboardi, Marco ; Grégoire, Benjamin ; Hsu, Justin ; Strub, Pierre-Yves

A Program Logic for Union Bounds

LIPIcs-ICALP-2016-107.pdf (0.5 MB)


We propose a probabilistic Hoare logic aHL based on the union bound, a tool from basic probability theory. While the union bound is simple, it is an extremely common tool for analyzing randomized algorithms. In formal verification terms, the union bound allows flexible and compositional reasoning over possible ways an algorithm may go wrong. It also enables a clean separation between reasoning about probabilities and reasoning about events, which are expressed as standard first-order formulas in our logic. Notably, assertions in our logic are non-probabilistic, even though we can conclude probabilistic facts from the judgments.

Our logic can also prove accuracy properties for interactive programs, where the program must produce intermediate outputs as soon as pieces of the input arrive, rather than accessing the entire input at once. This setting also enables adaptivity, where later inputs may depend on earlier intermediate outputs. We show how to prove accuracy for several examples from the differential privacy literature, both interactive and non-interactive.

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{Gilles Barthe and Marco Gaboardi and Benjamin Gr{\'e}goire and Justin Hsu and Pierre-Yves Strub},
  title =	{{A Program Logic for Union Bounds}},
  booktitle =	{43rd International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2016)},
  pages =	{107:1--107:15},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-013-2},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2016},
  volume =	{55},
  editor =	{Ioannis Chatzigiannakis and Michael Mitzenmacher and Yuval Rabani and Davide Sangiorgi},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl--Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-62425},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2016.107},
  annote =	{Keywords: Probabilistic Algorithms, Accuracy, Formal Verification, Hoare Logic, Union Bound}

Keywords: Probabilistic Algorithms, Accuracy, Formal Verification, Hoare Logic, Union Bound
Collection: 43rd International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2016)
Issue Date: 2016
Date of publication: 23.08.2016

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