Population protocols are a well established model of computation by
anonymous, identical finite state agents. A protocol is well-specified if from
every initial configuration, all fair executions reach a common consensus. The
central verification question for population protocols is the
well-specification problem: deciding if a given protocol is well-specified.
Esparza et al. have recently shown that this problem is decidable, but with
very high complexity: it is at least as hard as the Petri net reachability
problem, which is EXPSPACE-hard, and for which only algorithms of non-primitive
recursive complexity are currently known.
In this paper we introduce the class WS3 of well-specified strongly-silent
protocols and we prove that it is suitable for automatic verification. More
precisely, we show that WS3 has the same computational power as general
well-specified protocols, and captures standard protocols from the literature.
Moreover, we show that the membership problem for WS3 reduces to solving
boolean combinations of linear constraints over N. This allowed us to develop
the first software able to automatically prove well-specification for all of
the infinitely many possible inputs.