On Bisimulation and Model-Checking for Concurrent Systems with Partial Order Semantics

In concurrency theory---the branch of (theoretical) computer science that studies the logical and mathematical foundations of parallel computation---there are two main formal ways of modelling the behaviour of systems where multiple actions or events can happen independently and at the same time: either with interleaving or with partial order semantics.

On the one hand, the interleaving semantics approach proposes to reduce concurrency to the nondeterministic, sequential computation of the events the system can perform independently. On the other hand, partial order semantics represent concurrency explicitly by means of an independence relation on the set of events that the system can execute in parallel; following this approach, the so-called `true concurrency' approach, independence or concurrency is a primitive notion rather than a derived concept as in the interleaving framework.

Using interleaving or partial order semantics is, however, more than a matter of taste. In fact, choosing one kind of semantics over the other can have important implications---both from theoretical and practical viewpoints---as making such a choice can raise different issues, some of which we investigate here. More specifically, this thesis studies concurrent systems with partial order semantics and focuses on their bisimulation and model-checking problems; the theories and techniques herein apply, in a uniform way, to different classes of Petri nets, event structures, and transition system with independence (TSI) models.

Some results of this work are: a number of mu-calculi (in this case, fixpoint extensions of modal logic) that, in certain classes of systems, induce exactly the same identifications as some of the standard bisimulation equivalences used in concurrency. Secondly, the introduction of (infinite) higher-order logic games for bisimulation and for model-checking, where the players of the games are given (local) monadic second-order power on the sets of elements they are allowed to play. And, finally, the formalization of a new order-theoretic concurrent game model that provides a uniform approach to bisimulation and model-checking and bridges some mathematical concepts in order theory with the more operational world of games.

In particular, we show that in all cases the logic games for bisimulation and model-checking developed in this thesis are sound and complete, and therefore, also determined---even when considering models of infinite state systems; moreover, these logic games are decidable in the finite case and underpin novel decision procedures for systems verification.

Since the mu-calculi and (infinite) logic games studied here generalise well-known fixpoint modal logics as well as game-theoretic decision procedures for analysing concurrent systems with interleaving semantics, this thesis provides some of the groundwork for the design of a logic-based, game-theoretic framework for studying, in a uniform manner, several concurrent systems regardless of whether they have an interleaving or a partial order semantics.

This thesis appears in the Edinburgh Research Archive (ERA). LFCS, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh (PDF , ERA online version)