Exact finite-state machine identification from scenarios and temporal properties

Vladimir Ulyantsev, Igor Buzhinsky*, Anatoly Shalyto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
171 Downloads (Pure)


Finite-state models, such as finite-state machines (FSMs), aid software engineering in many ways. They are often used in formal verification and also can serve as visual software models. The latter application is associated with the problems of software synthesis and automatic derivation of software models from specification. Smaller synthesized models are more general and are easier to comprehend, yet the problem of minimum FSM identification has received little attention in previous research. This paper presents four exact methods to tackle the problem of minimum FSM identification from a set of test scenarios and a temporal specification represented in linear temporal logic. The methods are implemented as an open-source tool. Three of them are based on translations of the FSM identification problem to SAT or QSAT problem instances. Accounting for temporal properties is done via counterexample prohibition. Counterexamples are either obtained from previously identified FSMs, or based on bounded model checking. The fourth method uses backtracking. The proposed methods are evaluated on several case studies and on a larger number of randomly generated instances of increasing complexity. The results show that the Iterative SAT-based method is the leader among the proposed methods. The methods are also compared with existing inexact approaches, i.e., the ones which do not necessarily identify the minimum FSM, and these comparisons show encouraging results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-55
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer
Issue number1
Early online date18 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Finite-state machine identification
  • Linear temporal logic
  • Model checking
  • QSAT
  • SAT


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