Dynamic Input/Output Automata: a Formal and Compositional Model for Dynamic Systems
Author(s)Attie, Paul C.; Lynch, Nancy A.
Theory of Computation
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We present dynamic I/O automata (DIOA), a compositional model of dynamic systems, based on I/O automata. In our model, automata can be created and destroyed dynamically, as computation proceeds. In addition, an automaton can dynamically change its signature, that is, the set of actions in which it can participate. This allows us to model mobility, by enforcing the constraint that only automata at the same location may synchronize on common actions. Our model features operators for parallel composition, action hiding, and action renaming. It also features a notion of automaton creation, and a notion of trace inclusion from one dynamic system to another, which can be used to prove that one system implements the other. Our model is hierarchical: a dynamically changing system of interacting automata is itself modeled as a single automaton that is "one level higher." This can be repeated, so that an automaton that represents such a dynamic system can itself be created and destroyed. We can thus model the addition and removal of entire subsystems with a single action. We establish fundamental compositionality results for DIOA: if one component is replaced by another whose traces are a subset of the former, then the set of traces of the system as a whole can only be reduced, and not increased, i.e., no new behaviors are added. That is, parallel composition, action hiding, and action renaming, are all monotonic with respect to trace inclusion. We also show that, under certain technical conditions, automaton creation is monotonic with respect to trace inclusion: if a system creates automaton Ai instead of (previously) creating automaton A'i, and the traces of Ai are a subset of the traces of A'i,then the set of traces of the overall system is possibly reduced, but not increased. Our trace inclusion results imply that trace equivalence is a congruence relation with respect to parallel composition, action hiding, and action renaming. Our trace inclusion results enable a design and refinement methodology based solely on the notion of externally visible behavior, and which is therefore independent of specific methods of establishing trace inclusion. It permits the refinement of components and subsystems in isolation from the entire system, and provides more flexibility in refinement than a methodology which is, for example, based on the monotonicity of forward simulation with respect to parallel composition. In the latter, every automaton must be refined using forward simulation, whereas in our framework different automata can be refined using different methods. The DIOA model was defined to support the analysis of mobile agent systems, in a joint project with researchers at Nippon Telegraph and Telephone. It can also be used for other forms of dynamic systems, such as systems described by means of object-oriented programs, and systems containing services with changing access permissions.