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Automating the Refinement of Specifications for Distributed Systems via Syntactic Transformations 1

Summary: Automating the Refinement of Specifications for Distributed
Systems via Syntactic Transformations 1
Paul Attie, Champak Das
Florida International University
School of Computer Science
Miami, Florida 33199
The idea of successively refining an abstract specification until it contains enough detail to suggest an imple­
mentation has been investigated by numerous researchers. The emphasis to date has been on techniques that,
unfortunately, lead to a large amount of manual formal labor for each refinement step. With such techniques,
both the cost and the possibility of errors arising in formal manipulation are high. Using a theorem prover can
reduce the number of manipulation errors, but, given current technology, the amount of labor is still daunting.
This research explores an alternative solution to the refinement problem, namely the use of syntactic transfor­
mations to realize each refinement step. We reduce formal labor by employing automatic transformations that
guarantee the preservation of desirable properties --- e.g., deadlock­freedom. Automatic transformations are
particularly appealing for the development of large, complex distributed systems, where a manual approach to
refinement would be prohibitively expensive. Distributed computations are, by nature, reactive and concur­
rent, so their correctness cannot be specified as a simple functional relationship between inputs and outputs.
Instead, specifications must describe the time­varying behavior of the system. Further difficulty is caused by


Source: Attie, Paul - Department of Computer Science, American University of Beirut


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences