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Reasoning about Expected Run-Times of Probabilistic Programs

Benjamin Kaminski

We present a weakest-precondition-style calculus for reasoning about run-times of deterministic programs and expected run-times of probabilistic programs. Run-times of loops are defined in terms of least fixed points of continuous functions acting on an appropriate run-time domain. We present several proof rules for upper- and lower-bounding the (expected) run-time of loops. In particular, we present a very simple, yet complete proof rule for upper bounds based on just a single run-time invariant. For lower bounds, however, we will discuss how the analogon of the single-invariant-rule is sound for deterministic programs, but unsound for probabilistic ones.

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