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Formal Methods for Statistical Software



Paul E. Black


"Statistical software" encompasses several distinct classes of software. This report explains what formal methods, tools, and approaches may be able to increase assurance of results of using statistical software and implementing differential privacy. To provide context, we present an exemplary process for assured results. The parts are, data assurance, algorithm design, software production, correctness proofs, post production assurance of software, and result checking. We note a workshop we organized to support this paper, and finish with recommended formal methods, tools, and researchers doing particularly pertinent work.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8274
Report Number


correctness proofs, formal methods, software assurance, differential privacy, software quality, static analysis, static source code analyzers, statistical software.


Black, P. (2019), Formal Methods for Statistical Software, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 22, 2024)


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Created October 4, 2019, Updated May 4, 2021