A system engineering methodology integrating performance evaluation and formal specification

The situation of telecommunications systems is rapidly evolving towards a state characterized by the presence of a multitude of services integrated in a single network structure. In order to ease their integration, it is important to provide an unambiguous description of the organization, of the functionality, and of the relationships existing among services. Since it is not possible to completely foresee the situation of services in the future, the description should be modular, so that the task of adding new services to an existing environment is simplified. Formal description techniques are languages designed to handle such descriptions. Their goal is to produce correct and unambiguous specifications, understanding and modeling the system and the domain within which it operates. Their input is a set of required statements and a conceptual overview of the system. Their output is a formal representation that captures the functional behavior. On the other hand, the throughput of physical networks is constantly growing, reaching the order of Gbit/s. In the meantime, services needing high throughput, like multimedia conferencing systems are being designed, creating a need for flexible, high performance communication systems. An important feature of new high speed services is their increased need for guarantees. Therefore, the use of powerful performance modeling techniques becomes of prime importance. Their goal is to obtain some notion of how the system will perform under a given set of conditions. Performance evaluation theorists have long been using system specifications to make a heuristic model of the system and then an analysis of the model. When system specifications exist, the question arises whether a more direct path to performance analysis can be found. Our scope is to provide a methodology that fully and consistently integrates formal specification and performance evaluation. A problem is that many of the bottlenecks and impediments to smooth data flow have to do with implementation issues not directly dealt within the system specification itself. Therefore, prior to generating a performance model, the formal specification should be enhanced with the relevant non-functional information. It is essential to assure a smooth specification of the non-functional information. Thus, it is necessary to consistently add this information to the formal specification. Besides, the extended formal method should focus on conserving the semantics of the original one, and on providing a coherent extension of the semantics and syntax for the new concepts. Since all relevant required information is integrated within the formal extended representation, we provide a mapping technique that translates the extended formal representation into a performance modeling conserving the properties of the formal model. In parallel to the development of a performance model, the formal model can be validated and verified, and their implementation can be tested for conformance towards the original formal model. Finally, the performance modelling is implemented in a programming language, and then simulated. The results from simulation can be reused as inputs for the optimization of the formal specification (functional optimization) or the extended formal model (design optimization). To sum up, the goal of this work is to: Define extensions to current formal methods that allow to enhance the formal specification with performance modeling related information. Develop a method to translate the extended formal specification into a performance modeling. Develop rules and guidelines to automatically implement the performance modeling for the purpose of a performance evaluation (we use the commercial tool Opnet). Develop a consistent and coherent methodology for the integration of performance modeling and formal specification.

Hubaux, Jean-Pierre
Lausanne, EPFL

Note: The status of this file is: EPFL only

 Record created 2005-03-16, last modified 2018-03-17

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