For the Bash Unix Shell we provide command completion support.

Example

$ probcli -re<TAB> -refchk -repl

A generated version of the command completion for Bash is available here. To install download the linked file and store it locally on your machine. To enable the completion you need to **source** the file.

$ source <path to prob_completion.sh>

To enable the completion automatically add the line above to your Bash settings, e.g. in the **.bashrc** or **.profile** files in your home directory.

The source code can be found on our GitLab. Bugs and improvements can be submitted on our GitHub issue tracker.

As of version 1.5.1 ProB supports common subexpression elimination (CSE).

To enable CSE you need to set the advanced preference `CSE` to true (this can be done using the switch `-p CSE TRUE` when using the command-line version probcli or using the Advanced Preferences command in ProB Tcl/Tk).
With CSE enabled, ProB will translate the predicate

x:dom(f(a)) & r=f(a)(x)

into

(LET @0==(f(a)) IN x ∈ dom(@0) ∧ r = @0(x))

before evaluating it. As you can see, the common sub-expression `f(a)` has been lifted into a LET statement. This has the advantage that the expression `f(a)` will only get evaluated once (rather than twice, in case `x:dom(f(a))`). Identifiers introduced by the CSE always start with the @-sign.
As another example, the predicate

x*x+2*x > y*y*y & y*y*y > x*x+2*x

gets translated into

LET @2==(x*x+2*x) IN (LET @4==((y*y)*y) IN @2 > @4 & @4 > @2))

You may observe that the B-language does not have a let-construct for expression nor predicates (only for substitutions). There are various ways one can overcome this (e.g., using an existential quantifier for a predicate), but ProB adds its own LET-construct to the language in the interpreter. Moreover, to avoid issues with well-definedness and ensuring that ProB only evaluates the LET expressions when really needed, this LET has a different behaviour than the "standard" constructs. Indeed, ProB's LET is lazy, i.e., it will only evaluate the expression when required by the computation of the body of the LET. For example, in

LET @1==f(a) IN 2>3 & @1+@1>10

the expression `f(a)` will never be evaluated. This is important for well-definedness (e.g., suppose a is not in the domain of f) and for performance.

To enable CSE also inside substitutions (aka B statements) you need to set the preference `CSE_SUBST` to true.
By default, the CSE will only be applied to top-level predicates, such as the invariant, the assertions, the properties or individual predicates inside operations (but not the operation as a whole).

By default ProB's CSE will also share predicates.
You can turn off CSE for predicates, i.e., only expressions get shared, by setting the preference `CSE_PRED` to `FALSE`.
For example, by default ProB's CSE will translate

x+1 > 10 & (x+1 > 10 => y=22)

into

LET @1==(x + 1 > 10) IN @1 & (@1 => y = 22)

After setting `CSE_PRED` to `FALSE`, this will be translated into:

LET @0==(x + 1) IN @0 > 10 & (@0 > 10 => y = 22)

ProB will also share expressions which are potentially not well-defined, and takes extra care with those expressions (in particular in the context of set comprehensions and quantifications).
However, you can completely turn off sharing of potentially not-well defined expressions by setting the preference `CSE_WD_ONLY` to `TRUE`.
For example, by default the following predicate

x>1 & 100/x > 20 & 100/x <26

will get translate into

LET @0==(100 / x) IN (x > 1 & @0 > 20) & @0 < 26)

and ProB will find the solution `x=4`.
With `CSE_WD_ONLY` to `TRUE`, the predicate will be left unchanged (and ProB will find the same solution).

To inspect the effect of CSE, you do one of the following:

- In ProB Tcl/Tk you can use the command "Show Internal Representation" in the Debug menu to inspect the effect of CSE on your machine
- For probcli, you can use the command
`-pp FILE`to write the pretty-printed internal representation of your machine after CSE to a file - For the REPL of probcli (command -repl), you can use the option
`-p REPL_UNICODE TRUE`to force ProB to print your expressions/predicates after CSE processing (using Unicode characters)

Starting with version 1.5 of ProB, it is possible to customize where the parser will ProB will search for referenced files.

By default ProB will try to find files referenced from a machine (using SEES, INCLUDES, DEFINITON-files, etc) resolving paths as relative to the current machine or within the ProB standard library.

Commonly used files can be placed in a shared location, e.g. in the standard library (the stdlib directory in the ProB distribution) or any custom location.

The search path can be customized by defining a PROBPATH environment variable that contains a list of directories to be searched. On windows the directors are separated by a ";" and on unix systems by a ":" character, e.g.:

On unix:

PROBPATH=~/myproject/common:~/myotherproject/common probcli model.mch

And on windows:

PROBPATH=~/myproject/common;~/myotherproject/common probcli model.mch

will resolved referenced files relative to model.mch, then in **~/myproject/common** then in **~/myotherproject/common** and finally in the standard library of ProB, stopping as soon as a file with the name being looked up is found.
**Warning:** Display title "Handbook/Advanced Features" overrides earlier display title "The ProB Search Path".

As of version 1.4.0, ProB can make use of TLC as an alternative model checker to validate B specifications. TLC is an efficient model checker for TLA+ specifications, which can check LTL properties with fairness. It is particularly good for lower level specifications, where it can be substantially faster than ProB's own model checker. TLC has been released as an open source project, under the MIT License.

First you have to open a B specification in the ProB GUI. Then you can select the menu command "Model Check with TLC" in the "Verify->External Tools" menu.

You can use TLC to find the following kinds of errors in the B specification:

- Deadlocks
- Invariant violations
- Assertion errors
- Goal found (a desired state is reached)
- Properties violations (i.e, axioms over the B constants are false)
- Well-definedness violations
- Temporal formulas violations

In some cases, TLC reports a trace leading to the state where the error (e.g. deadlock or invariant violation) occur. Such traces are automatically replayed in the ProB animator (displayed in the history pane) to give an optimal feedback.

On Linux the tlc-thread package is required to run TLC from the tcl/tk ui:

sudo apt-get install tcl-thread

You can use the following switch to use TLC rather than ProB's model checker:

-mc_with_tlc

Some of the standard probcli options also work for TLC:

- -noinv (no invariant checking)
- -nodead (no deadlock checking)
- -noass (no assertion checking)
- -nogoal (no checking for the optional goal predicate)

In addition you can provide

- -noltl (no checking of LTL assertions)

The preference `TLC_WORKERS` influences the number of workers that will be used by TLC.
So, a call might look like this:

probcli FILE.mch -mc_with_tlc -p TLC_WORKERS 2 -noltl

TLC is extremely valuable when it comes to explicit state model checking for large state spaces. Otherwise, TLC has no constraint solving abilities.

TLC is a very efficient model checker for specifications written in TLA+. To validate B specification with TLC we developed the translator TLC4B which automatically translates a B specification to TLA+, invokes the model checker TLC, and translates the results back to B. Counter examples produced by TLC are double checked by ProB and replayed in the ProB animator. The translation to TLA+ and back to B is completely hidden to the user. Hence, the user needs no knowledge of TLA+ to use TLC.

There is a technical report that describes our translation from B to TLA+.

The following constructs are currently not supported by the TLC4B translator:

- Refinement specifications
- Machine inclusion (SEES, INCLUDES, ..)
- Sequential composition statement (G;H)

Sometimes TLC will show a different number of visited states compared to the ProB model checker. The following example should illustrate this issue:

MACHINE NumberOfStates CONSTANTS k PROPERTIES k : 1..10 VARIABLES x INVARIANT x : NATURAL INITIALISATION x := k END

ProB will report 21 distinct states (1 root state, 10 constant setup states, 10 initialization states):

TLC will only report 10 distinct states (10 initialization states).

More information can be found in our ABZ'14 article.

ProB can (as of version 1.6.1) be used to process Latex files, i.e., the command-line tool probcli scans a given Latex file and replaces certain commands by processed results.

A typical usage would be as follows:

probcli FILE -init -latex Raw.tex Final.tex

Note: the FILE and -init commands are optional; they are required in case you want to
process the commands in the context of a certain model.
Currently the probcli Latex commands mainly support B and Event-B models, TLA+ and Z models can also be processed but all commands below expect B syntax.
You can add more commands if you wish, e.g., set preferences using `-p PREF VAL` or run model checking `--model-check`.
The Latex processing will take place after most other commands, such as model checking.

You will probably want to put the probcli call into a Makefile, in particular when you want to generate dot graphics using ProB.

The distribution folder of ProB contains an example with a Makefile, producing the following file, which at the same time documents the core features:

The commands are described in the PDF document above. Here is a short summary of some of the commands:

`\probexpr{EXRP}`command takes a B expression`EXPR`as argument and evaluates it. By default it shows the B expression and the value of the expression. Example:`\probexpr{{1}\/{2**10}}`will be replaced by`{1,1024}``ascii`to print the result as ASCII rather than using Latex math symbols`time`to display the time taken for the command`string`the result value is a string, and do not print the quotes around the string`value`to just print the value, not the expression

`\probrepl{CMD}`command takes a probcli REPL command`CMD`as argument and executes it. By default it shows only the output of the execution, e.g., in case it is a predicate TRUE or FALSE. Example:`\probrepl{let DOM = 1..3}`. A variation of the latter is the new command`\problet{DOM}{1..3}`which shows the let construct itself within the generated Latex. Optional arguments for`\probrepl`are :`solution`to display the solution bindings (for existential variables) found by ProB`store`to store the solution bindings as local variables (similar to let)`ascii`to print the result as ASCII rather than using Latex math symbols`time`to display the time taken for the command`print`to print the expression/predicate being evaluated (automatically set by`\problet``silent`to not print the result of the evaluation

`\probtable{EXRP}`command takes a B expression`EXPR`as argument, evaluates it and shows it as a Latex table. Optional arguments are`no-tabular`,`no-hline`,`no-headings`,`no-row-numbers`,`max-table-size=NR`.

`\probdot{DOT}{File1}`command takes a B expression`EXPR`as argument, evaluates it as a graph and writes a dot file`File1`. You can provide a second File as argument, in which case`dot`is called to generate a PDF document. You can also set`sfdp`as third argument, in which case the`sfdp`tool will be used instead of`dot`.

`\probprint{EXRP}`command takes a B expression or predicate`EXPR`as argument and pretty prints it. Optional arguments are:`pred`only try to parse first argument as predicate`expr`only try to parse first argument as expression`ascii`to print the result as ASCII rather than using Latex math symbols

`\probif{EXPR}{Then}{Else}`command takes an expression or predicate`EXPR`and two Latex texts. If the expression evaluates to TRUE the first branch`Then`is processed, otherwise the other one`Else`is processed.

`\probfor{ID}{Set}{Body}`command takes an identifier`ID`, a set expression`Set`and a Latex text`Body`, and processes the Latex text for every element of the set expression, setting the identifier to a value of the set.

- Presentation held in Grenoble in September 2016 about "Constraint Programming Puzzles in B" File:Puzzle latex presentation.pdf
- SBMF'2016 keynote article "Formal Model-Based Constraint Solving and Document Generation" File:Sbmf 2016 latex.pdf

ProB Tcl/Tk can be installed as a plugin for Atelier B, so that ProB can be launched directly from within Atelier B projects. With this you can animate and model check B machines directly from within the IDE of Atelier-B.

The easiest is to perform the menu command "Install AtelierB 4 Plugin..." in the Help menu of ProB Tcl/Tk. This will create a file called `probtclk.etool` in an extensions folder next to Atelier B's bbin folder. The extensions folder is created if necessary.

Note: as the layout of Atelier-B's directories has changed, you need to use ProB 1.12.0 or newer for Atelier-B 4.7.1 or newer on macOS. You can also create the the above file yourself.

Here is a typical `probtclk.etool` file (where PathToProB depends on your location of the ProB installation folder containing the prob and probcli binaries):

<externalTool category="component" name="ProBTclTk" label="&Animate with ProB (Tcl/Tk)"> <toolParameter name="editor" type="tool" configure="yes" default="PathToProB/StartProB.sh" /> <command>${editor}</command> <param>${componentPath}</param> </externalTool>

Note, you can also ProB2-UI within Atelier-B by creating a suitable file `prob2ui.etool` in this extensions folder. Here is a typical file for macOS; the path needs to be adapted for your location and operating system (we plan to provide an installer within ProB2-UI):

<externalTool category="component" name="ProB2UI" label="&Animate with ProB2-UI"> <toolParameter name="editor" type="tool" configure="yes" default="/Applications/Development/ProB/ProB 2 UI.app/Contents/MacOS/ProB 2 UI" /> <command>${editor}</command> <param>--machine-file</param> <param>${componentPath}</param> </externalTool>

After installing the plugins you can launch ProB for selected B machines by right-clicking on a B machine within Atelier B:

Atelier B also enables to use ProB as a prover/disprover in the interactive proof window. For this you need to set the ProB_Path resource to point to probcli (command-line version of ProB). To do this you need to add the following line to the resource file of your project (replacing PATH by the the path on your machine to probcli):

ATB*PR*ProB_Path:PATH/probcli

Then you can type, e.g., the command `prob(1)`in the interactive proof window.

Two commands are provided within Atelier-B:

`prob(n)`tries to prove the goal with the selected hypotheses (selected using rp.n as is done for th e pp command of Atelier-B)`prob(n|t)`is similar but also limits the execution time of ProB to t seconds

Atelier-B will call probcli using the commands `-cbc_assertions_tautology_proof` and `-cbc_result_file` after having encoded the proof obligation into the ASSERTIONS clause of a generated B machine.

The generated machine typically has the form:

MACHINE probNr SETS ... CONSTANTS ... PROPERTIES << ALL HYPOTHESES >> ASSERTIONS ( <<SELECTED HYPOTHESES >> => << PROOF GOAL >> ) END

As of version 1.3, ProB contains a much improved parser which tries be compliant with Atelier B but provides extra features.

- Identifiers: ProB also allows identifiers consisting of a single letter. ProB also accepts enumerated set elements to be used as identifiers. Arbitrary identifiers can be used in backquotes (e..g,
``id-1*``)

- Lexing: The Atelier-B parser (
`bcomp`) reports a lexical error (`illegal token |-`) if the vertical bar (|) of a lambda abstraction is followed directly by the minus sign.

- Typing:
- ProB makes use of a unification-based type inference algorithm. As such, typing information can not only flow from left-to-right inside a formula, but also from right-to-left. For example, it is sufficient to type
`xx<:yy & yy<:NAT`instead of typing both`xx`and`yy`in ProB. - Similar to Rodin, ProB extracts typing information from all predicates. As such, it is sufficient to write
`xx/:{1,2}`to assign a type to`xx`. - the fields of records are normalized (sorted); hence the predicate
`rec(a:0,b:1) = rec(b:y,a:x)`is correctly typed for ProB. - As of version 1.12.1 you can apply prj1 and prj2 without providing the type arguments. For example, you can write
`prj2(prj1(1|->2|->3))`instead of`prj2(INTEGER,INTEGER)(prj1(INTEGER*INTEGER,INTEGER)(1|->2|->3))`.

- ProB makes use of a unification-based type inference algorithm. As such, typing information can not only flow from left-to-right inside a formula, but also from right-to-left. For example, it is sufficient to type

- DEFINITIONS: the definitions and its arguments are checked by ProB. We believe this to be an important feature for a formal method language. However, as such, every DEFINITION must be either a predicate, an expression or a substitution. You
**cannot**use, for example, lists of identifiers as a definition. Also, for the moment, the arguments to DEFINITIONS have to be expressions. Finally, when replacing DEFINITIONS the associativity is not changed. E.g., with`PLUS(x,y) == x+y`, the expression`PLUS(2,3)*10`will evaluate to 50 (and not to 32 as with Atelier-B).

- for a LET substitution, Atelier-B does not allow introduced identifiers to be used in the right-hand side of equations; ProB allows
`LET x,y BE x=2 & y=x*x IN ... END`but only if the preference`ALLOW_COMPLEX_LETS`is set to TRUE.

- ProB allows WHILE loops and sequential composition in abstract machines

- ProB now allows the IF-THEN-ELSE for expressions and predicates:
`IF x<0 THEN -x ELSE x END`

- ProB now allows LET constructs for expressions and predicates

- ProB allows
`btrue`and`bfalse`as predicates.

- ProB allows to use the Event-B relation operators
`<<->`,`<->>`,`<<->>`

- ProB allows escape codes (\n, \', \", see above) and supports UTF-8 characters in strings, and ProB allows multi-line string literals written using three apostrophes (
**string**)

- ProB allows WHILE loops and sequential composition in abstract machines

- Some of the sequence operators can be applied to strings (unless you set the preference STRING_AS_SEQUENCE to FALSE):
`size`,`rev`,`^`,`conc`

- As of version 1.12.1 you can write Event-B style set comprehensions with an extra expression like {x•x:1..10|x*x}. You have to use the middle dot, the bullet (•) or a Unicode dot for this, though.

- ProB comes with several libraries of external functions for string manipulations, mathematical functions, Hilbert's choice operator, etc.

- for ProB the order of fields in a record is not relevant (internally the fields are sorted), Atelier-B reports a type error if the order of the name of the fields changes

- Well-definedness: ProB will try to check if your predicates are well-defined during animation or model checking, but there is currently no guarantee that all well-definedness errors will be detected. To be on the safe side, you should ensure that your formulas are well-defined according to the left-to-right definition of well-definedness employed in Rodin for Event-B. ProB now has a static checker for well-definedness which you can use for this. Note, however, that ProB may re-order conjuncts if this improves well-definedness. For example, for
`x:0..3 & y=10/x & x /=0`ProB will not report an error as the conjunct`x/=0`is processed before the division. Indeed, while this predicate is not well-defined according to Rodin's left-to-right rule, it is well-defined according to the more liberal commutative definition of well-definedness.

- Parsing: ProB will require parentheses around the comma, the relational composition, and parallel product operators. For example, you cannot write
`r2=rel;rel`. You need to write`r2=(rel;rel)`. This allows ProB to distinguish the relational composition from the sequential composition (or other uses of the semicolon). You also generally need to put BEGIN and END around the sequential composition operator, e.g.,`Op = BEGIN x:=1;y:=2 END`. - Similarly, tuples without parentheses are not supported; write (a,b,c) instead of a,b,c

- Unsupported Operators:
- Trees and binary trees: most but not all tree operators (mirror, infix) are supported yet. These operators may disappear in future version of Atelier B and may also disappear from ProB.
`VALUES`: This clause of the`IMPLEMENTATION`machines is not yet fully supported;

- There are also some general limitations wrt refinements. See Current Limitations#Multiple Machines and Refinements for more details.

As of version 1.3.5 ProB can make use of Kodkod as an alternate way of solving constraints. Kodkod provides a relational interface to SAT solvers and is the heart of the Alloy tool.

For the command-line version you need to call prob as follows:

probcli -p KODKOD TRUE

Note: to experiment with Kodkod you may want to try out the command:

probcli -p KODKOD TRUE -repl

If in addition you want see a graphical representation of the solutions found you can use the following command and open the `out.dot` file using dotty or GraphViz:

probcli -p KODKOD TRUE -repl -evaldot ~/out.dot

For the ProB Tcl/Tk Version you should select the menu command "Enable Kodkod for Properties" in the Preferences menu.

- Types:
- Basic Types: Deferred Sets, enumerated sets, integers, booleans
- Sets of basic types
- Relations between basic types
- Higher-order types (sets of sets) are not supported

- Operators:
- Predicates: &, or, =>, <=>, not, !, #, =, /=
- Booleans: TRUE, FALSE, BOOL, bool(...)
- Sets: {..,...} {x|P}, POW, card, Cartesian product, \/, /\, -, :, /:, /<:, <<: /<<:
- Numbers: n..m, >, <, >=, <=, +, -, *, SIGMA(x).(P|x)
- Relations: <->, |->, dom, ran, id, <|, <<|, |>, |>>, ~, [...], <+, prj1, prj2, closure1
- x : S+->T, x:S-->T, ..., lambda
- currently no operations on sequences are supported

- Some limitations:
- If integers are used, a predicate can only be translated if a static analysis can estimate the interval of its possible values.
- Generally only complete predicates are translated or nothing at all, unless you set the
`KODKOD_ONLY_FULL`preference to FALSE.

Once enabled, the Kodkod translation will be used in the following circumstances:

- for solving PROPERTIES
- constraint-based assertion checking (
`-cbc_assertions`command for`probcli`or the "Check Assertions on Constants" command in the menu Verify -> Constraint-Based Checking) - constraint-based deadlock checking
- in the Eval Console in the ProB Tcl/Tk version
- for the REPL in probcli (
`probcli -p KODKOD TRUE -repl`)

By default Kodkod in ProB uses the bundled SAT4J solver.
You can switch to using **minisat** by putting a current version of `libminisat.jnilib` into ProB's `lib` directory.

Similarly, as of ProB 1.6.1-beta5 you can also use the Solver **lingeling** or **glucose** by dropping `liblingeling.dylib` or `libglucose.dylib` into ProB's lib folder (for Mac OS X; for Linux the extension will be different).
You can control the solver being used using the `KODKOD_SAT_SOLVER` preference (which has four possible values: sat4j, minisat, lingeling, glucose).

These files can be downloaded from the Kodkod download site.

If you set `KODKOD_ONLY_FULL` to `FALSE`, then the Kodkod translation can be applied to part of a predicate.
In other words, the predicate (such as the PROPERTIES) are partitioned into two parts: one that can be understood by Kodkod and the rest which will be dealt with by ProB's solver.

You can also enable symmetry by using the preference `KODKOD_SYMMETRY`.
By default, ProB will set this value to 0, i.e., symmetry is off.
This means that Kodkod can also be used within set comprehensions.
By setting the preference to a value higher than 0 you will enable symmetry within Kodkod, which may mean that not all solutions will be returned.
Setting the value too high may be counter productive; Kodkod's recommended default is 20.

Finally, you can control the number of solutions that Kodkod computes in one go using the preference `KODKOD_MAX_NR_SOLS`.
E.g., if you are interested in only one solution and `KODKOD_ONLY_FULL` is `TRUE`, then you should set this value to 1.

You can also have a look at these Wiki pages:

The current nightly versions of ProB can make use of Z3 as an alternate way of solving constraints.

One can start a REPL (Read-Eval-Print-Loop) by starting probcli with the '-repl' command line option. Any predicate preceded with :z3 will be solved by Z3 considering the current machine's state. The command :z3-free can be used to solve a constraint without considering the current machine's state. The full integration of Z3 and ProB’s kernel can be enabled by setting the corresponding preference by passing

-p SMT SUPPORTED INTERPRETER TRUE

on the command line.

For Linux and Mac OS, the extension is built on our infrastructure and ships with the regular ProB download. You don't need to install Z3 on your system.

Currently, the Z3 translation is unable to cope with the following constructs:

- Generalised concatenation
- Permutation
- Iteration and Closure

When using Z3 alone, the solver will report "unsupported_type_or_expression" if it can not handle parts of a constraint.

When used together with ProB, everything Z3 can not be coped with will be handled by ProB alone automatically.

Using the repl, one can try out different examples.

First an example which can be solved by Z3 and not by ProB:

>>> X<Y & Y<X & X:INTEGER % Timeout when posting constraint: % kernel_objects:(_981727#>0) ### Warning: enumerating X : INTEGER : inf:sup ---> -1:3 Existentially Quantified Predicate over X,Y is UNKNOWN [FALSE with ** ENUMERATION WARNING **]

Using the Z3 translation it can be solved:

>>> :z3 X<Y & Y<X & X:INTEGER PREDICATE is FALSE

Here an example that shows that Z3 can be used to solve constraints and obtain solutions for the open variables:

>>> :z3 {x} /\ {y} /= {} & x:1000000..20000000 & y>=0 & y<2000000 PREDICATE is TRUE Solution: x = 1000000 y = 1000000

As of version 1.10.0-beta4 you can also issue the <t>:z3-version</t> command in the REPL to obtain version information.

A paper describing the integration of ProB and Z3 has been published at iFM 2016. You can download the

- raw data from our benchmarks including the R scripts to generate the
- resulting graphs.

A journal paper describing an extended interface to Z3 and alternative translation from B to SMT-LIB using Lambda functions has been published in the International Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer in 2022.