Basic Usage

The Yices distribution includes a few example source files that illustrate basic use of the Yices library. The code fragments in this section are from file examples/example1.c. This example shows how to initialize Yices, construct and print terms, create a context and assert formulas, and build and query a model when a context is satisfiable.

Global Initialization

Before doing anything with Yices, make sure to initialize all internal data structures by calling function yices_init. To avoid memory leaks, you should also call yices_exit at the end of your code to free all the memory that Yices has allocated internally.

Here is the corresponding code from examples/example1.c:

int main(void) {
   yices_init();    // Always call this first
   yices_exit();    // Cleanup
   return 0;

Type and Term Construction

The following code fragment builds two uninterpreted terms x and y of type int:

type_t int_type = yices_int_type();
term_t x = yices_new_uninterpreted_term(int_type);
term_t y = yices_new_uninterpreted_term(int_type);

In Yices, the type and term constructors return objects of type type_t and term_t, respectively. A global variable is constructed using function yices_new_uninterpreted_term.

It is possible to assign a name to any term by calling yices_set_term_name. Since we want to print some terms, it makes sense to give a name to both the terms x and y:

yices_set_term_name(x, "x");
yices_set_term_name(y, "y");

This has two effects:

  1. The pretty printer will use the names "x" and "y" when printing these two terms. Otherwise, it would construct names such as "t!3" and "t!4".
  2. The strings "x" and "y" can now be used to retrieve the terms x and y. Yices maintains an internal symbol table that maps strings to terms. Calling yices_set_term_name adds an entry in this table.

We can now build a more complex term by using constructors such as yices_arith_geq0_atom and yices_and3:

term_t f = yices_and3(yices_arith_geq0_atom(x),
                      yices_arith_eq_atom(yices_add(x, y),

The resulting term f is the formula x ≥ 0 ∧ y ≥ 0 ∧ x+y=100.

We can also build the same term by parsing a string:

term_t f_var = yices_parse_term("(and (>= x 0) (>= y 0) (= (+ x y) 100))");

The input to yices_parse_term must be an expression in the Yices syntax (see Yices Input Language). The parser relies on the symbol table to interpret the two symbols "x" and "y".

Pretty Printing

Here is a simple function for printing a term on standard output:

static void print_term(term_t term) {
  int32_t code;

  code = yices_pp_term(stdout, term, 80, 20, 0);
  if (code < 0) {
    // An error occurred
    fprintf(stderr, "Error in print_term: ");

This uses the pretty-printing function yices_pp_term. The first argument to this function is the output file (here we use stdout). The second argument is the term to print. The other three parameters define the pretty-printing area (in this example, a rectangle of 80 columns and 20 lines).

The example also illustrates the use of the error-reporting functions. Most functions in the API return a negative number—or another special value such as NULL—to report an error. An internal data structure stores an error code and other diagnostic information about the most recent error. Function yices_print_error reads this data and prints an error message.

Checking Satisfiability

To check whether formula f is satisfiable, we create a fresh context, assert f in this context, then call function yices_check_context:

context_t *ctx = yices_new_context(NULL);
code = yices_assert_formula(ctx, f);
if (code < 0) {
  fprintf(stderr, "Assert failed: code = %"PRId32", error = %"PRId32"\n",
          code, yices_error_code());

switch (yices_check_context(ctx, NULL)) {
  printf("The formula is satisfiable\n");

  printf("The formula is not satisfiable\n");

  printf("The status is unknown\n");

  fprintf(stderr, "Error in check_context\n");

Function yices_new_context creates a new context and function yices_assert_formula asserts a formula in the context. Function yices_check_context returns a code of type smt_status_t:

  • STATUS_SAT means that the context is satisfiable.
  • STATUS_UNSAT means that the context is not satisfiable.
  • STATUS_UNKNOWN means that the context’s status could not be determined.

Other codes are error conditions.

Once the context ctx is no longer needed, we delete it using yices_free_context.

Building and Querying a Model

If yices_check_context returns STATUS_SAT (or STATUS_UNKNOWN), we can construct a model of the asserted formulas by calling yices_get_model. We then display the model using yices_pp_model:

model_t* model = yices_get_model(ctx, true);
if (model == NULL) {
  fprintf(stderr, "Error in get_model\n");
} else {
  code = yices_pp_model(stdout, model, 80, 4, 0);

Then, we query the model to get the value of the two terms x and y:

int32_t v;
// get the value of x
code = yices_get_int32_value(model, x, &v);
if (code < 0) {
  printf(stderr, "Error in get_int32_value for 'x'\n");
} else {
  printf("Value of x = %"PRId32"\n", v);

// get the value of y
code = yices_get_int32_value(model, y, &v);
if (code < 0) {
  fprintf(stderr, "Error in get_int32_value for 'y'\n");
} else {
  printf("Value of y = %"PRId32"\n", v);


In this case, the values of x and y are small integers that fit in the 32bit integer variable v, so we use function yices_get_int32_value. Other functions are available to extract large integer values (either using 64bit integers or GMP numbers).

Once we are done with the model, we delete it by calling yices_free_model.

Running this Example

The source file for this example can be downloaded here. It can be compiled as follows:

gcc example1.c -o example1 -lyices

Running this example should produce something like this:

Formula f
(and (>= x 0) (>= y 0) (= (+ -100 x y) 0))
Formula f_var
(and (>= x 0) (>= y 0) (= (+ -100 x y) 0))
The formula is satisfiable
(= x 0)
(= y 100)
Value of x = 0
Value of y = 100


You may encounter problems if you compile the example with Visual Studio on Windows. These problems are caused by incompatibilities between C runtime libraries of Visual Studio and the one Yices is linked against. See for a detailed explanation.

To avoid these issues, we recommend compiling with mingw. It is still possible to use Visual Studio or other compilers on Windows, as long as you avoid functions in the Yices API that take a FILE * argument. File examples/example1b.c in the distribution shows how to use alternative functions for pretty printing. You can also download this file here.