Naive Synthesis of Sorting Networks using Z3Py

As a simple extension of verifying the sorting networks from before, we can synthesize optimally small sorting networks. The “program” of the sorting network is specified by a list of tuples of the elements we wish to compare and swap in order. We just generate all possible sequences of comparison operations and ask z3 to try verifying. If z3 says it verifies, we’re done.

Here are some definitions for running the thing

and here is a simple generating thing for all possible pairs.

As is, this is astoundingly slow. Truly truly abysmally slow. The combinatorics of really naively search through this space is abysmal. I doubt you’re going to get more than a network of size 6 out of this as is.

Some possible optimizations: early pruning of bad networks with testing, avoiding ever looking at obviously bad networks. Maybe a randomized search might be faster if one doesn’t care about optimality. We could also ask z3 to produce networks.

For more on program synthesis, check out Nadia Polikarpova’s sick course here.

https://github.com/nadia-polikarpova/cse291-program-synthesis

Stupid is as Stupid Does: Floating Point in Z3Py

Floating points are nice and all. You can get pretty far pretending they are actually numbers. But they don’t obey some mathematical properties that feel pretty obvious. A classic to glance through is “What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating-Point Arithmetic” https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19957-01/806-3568/ncg_goldberg.html

We can check some properties with z3py. Here are a couple simple properties that succeed for mathematical integers and reals, but fail for floating point

I recently saw on twitter a reference to a Sylvie Boldo paper https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01148409/ “Stupid is as Stupid Does: Taking the Square Root of the Square of a Floating-Point Number”.

In it, she uses FlocQ and Coq to prove a somewhat surprising result that the naive formula \sqrt{x^2} = |x| actually is correct for the right rounding mode of floating point, something I wouldn’t have guessed.

Z3 confirms for Float16. I can’t get Float32 to come back after even a day on a fairly beefy computer. If I use FPSort(ebits,sbits) rather than a standard size, it just comes back unknown, so i can’t really see where the cutoff size is. This does not bode well for checking properties of floating point in z3 in general. I think a brute force for loop check of 32 bit float properties is feasible. I might even be pretty fast. To some degree, if z3 is taking forever to find a counterexample, I wonder to what to degree the property is probably true.

If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears.