Infoscience

Thesis

An incremental prototyping methodology for distributed systems based on formal specifications

This thesis presents a new incremental prototyping methodology for formally specified distributed systems. The objective of this methodology is to fill the gap which currently exists between the phase where a specification is simulated, generally using some sequential logical inference tool, and the phase where the modeled system has a reliable, efficient and maintainable distributed implementation in a main-stream object-oriented programming language. This objective is realized by application of a methodology we call Mixed Prototyping with Object-Orientation (in short: OOMP). This is an extension of an existing approach, namely Mixed Prototyping, that we have adapted to the object-oriented paradigm, of which we exploit the flexibility and inherent capability of modeling abstract entities. The OOMP process proceeds as follows. First, the source specifications are automatically translated into a class-based object-oriented language, thus providing a portable and high-level initial implementation. The generated class hierarchy is designed so that the developer may independently derive new sub-classes in order to make the prototype more efficient or to add functionalities that could not be specified with the given formalism. This prototyping process is performed incrementally in order to safely validate the modifications against the semantics of the specification. The resulting prototype can finally be considered as the end-user implementation of the specified software. The originality of our approach is that we exploit object-oriented programming techniques in the implementation of formal specifications in order to gain flexibility in the development process. Simultaneously, the object paradigm gives the means to harness this newly acquired freedom by allowing automatic generation of test routines which verify the conformance of the hand-written code with respect to the specifications. We demonstrate the generality of our prototyping scheme by applying it to a distributed collaborative diary program within the frame of CO-OPN (Concurrent Object-Oriented Petri Nets), a very powerful specification formalism which allows expressing concurrent and non-deterministic behaviours, and which provides structuring facilities such as modularity, encapsulation and genericity. An important effort has also been accomplished in the development or adaptation of distributed algorithms for cooperative symbolic resolution. These algorithms are used in the run-time support of the generated CO-OPN prototypes.

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