Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

New Formal Languages and their Implementations

Definition of LNT

Participants : Hubert Garavel, Frédéric Lang, Wendelin Serwe.

LNT is a next generation formal description language for asynchronous concurrent systems, which attempts to combine the best features of imperative programming languages and value-passing process algebras. LNT is increasingly used by CONVECS for industrial case studies and applications (see §  7.5 ) and serves also in university courses on concurrency, in particular at ENSIMAG (Grenoble) and at Saarland University.

In 2015, the theoretical foundations of LNT have been explored in a journal article [14] that, after examining the various ways sequential composition is handled in mainstream value-passing process calculi, shows that these various approaches are subsumed by the LNT approach, which is easier to learn and leads to more readable and more concise specifications.

The LNT language has also been enhanced in several aspects:

Translation from LNT to LOTOS

Participants : Hubert Garavel, Frédéric Lang, Wendelin Serwe.

In 2015, the translator from LNT to LOTOS was further improved. In addition to 22 bug fixes and improved error messages, the following enhancements have been brought:

Translation from LOTOS to Petri nets and C

Participants : Hubert Garavel, Wendelin Serwe.

The LOTOS compilers CAESAR and CAESAR.ADT, which were once the flagship of CADP, now play a more discrete role since LNT (rather than LOTOS) has become the recommended specification language of CADP. Thus, CAESAR and CAESAR.ADT are mostly used as back-end translators for LOTOS programs automatically generated from LNT or other formalisms such as Fiacre, and are only modified when this appears to be strictly necessary.

In 2015, in addition to a few bug fixes, the “-root ” option of the CAESAR compiler has been generalized to support processes having value parameters; this makes compositional verification easier by removing the need for introducing extra wrapper processes having no value parameters. The EXEC/CAESAR interface has been extended with two new primitives “CAESAR_KERNEL_DELAY ” and “CAESAR_KERNEL_EXIT() ”. Also, optimizations have been introduced to generate shorter and simpler C code, and to make sure that this C code compiles without spurious warnings.

A systematic comparison between CAESAR.ADT and available interpreters/compilers for other languages that support rewrite rules or pattern matching has been undertaken. This comparison reuses the benchmarks developed for the three Rewrite Engine Competitions (2006, 2009, and 2010). As a preliminary step, we developed a tenth translators from the REC formalism in which these benchmarks are written to languages such as Haskell, LOTOS, Maude, mCRL, OCAML, Opal, Rascal, Scala, and Tom.


Participants : Hubert Garavel, Frédéric Lang.

The CAESAR.BDD tool that analyzes NUPN (Nested-Unit Petri Nets) models and serves to prepare the yearly Model Checking Contest ( ) has been enhanced in several ways. In addition to 7 bug fixes, 14 new command-line options have been added to CAESAR.BDD (“-arcs ”, “-bits ”, “-creator ”, “-density ”, “-encodings ”, “-height ”, “-hwb ”, “-multiple-arcs ”, “-multiple-initial-tokens ”, “-places ”, “-redundant-units ”, “-transitions ”, “-units ”, and “-width ”). The output format produced by the “-exclusive-places ” option has been revised. The “-mcc ” option now computes the extended free choice property. A new option “-network nupn ” was also added to EXP.OPEN to produce NUPN models from automata networks.

Particular efforts have been put to increase the scalability of CAESAR.BDD for large models. Reading large NUPN files was made much faster. The “-exclusive-places ” option of CAESAR.BDD was made faster too. The size of the largest data structure allocated by CAESAR.BDD, has been divided by four. CAESAR.BDD has also been optimized to save memory when handling NUPN models having a simple hierarchical structure. Finally, user-specified timeouts are better supported.

A conference article was published [24] , which formally defines the NUPN model and investigates its mathematical properties. Additionally, the assembly of a collection of large NUPN models was undertaken, and various prototype tools to handle NUPN models (“nupn_pack”, “nupn_reduce”, and “nupn_merge”) have been developed.

Translation from GRL to LNT

Participants : Fatma Jebali, Jingyan Jourdan-Lu, Frédéric Lang, Eric Léo, Radu Mateescu.

In the context of the Bluesky project (see § ), we study the formal modeling of GALS (Globally Asynchronous, Locally Synchronous) systems, which are composed of several synchronous subsystems evolving cyclically, each at its own pace, and communicating with each other asynchronously. Designing GALS systems is challenging due to both the high level of (synchronous and asynchronous) concurrency and the heterogeneity of computations (deterministic and nondeterministic). To bring our formal verification techniques and tools closer to the GALS paradigm, we designed a new formal language named GRL (GALS Representation Language), as an intermediate format between GALS models and purely asynchronous concurrent models. GRL combines the main features of synchronous dataflow programming and asynchronous process calculi into one unified language, while keeping the syntax homogeneous for better acceptance by industrial GALS designers. GRL allows a modular composition of synchronous systems (blocks), environmental constraints (environments), and asynchronous communication mechanisms (mediums), to be described at a level of abstraction that is appropriate to verification. GRL also supports external C and LNT code. A translator named GRL2LNT has been developed, allowing an LNT program to be generated from a GRL specification automatically. Additionally, an OPEN/CAESAR-compliant compiler named GRL.OPEN (based on GRL2LNT and LNT.OPEN) makes possible the on-the-fly exploration of the LTS underlying a GRL specification using CADP.

In 2015, we have revised the GRL syntax to make GRL easier to learn and to understand. Our data base of examples has been updated to take those changes into account. We have also added some language features, such as named constants, and a dedicated construct called activation signal to define constraints on the asynchronous activation of blocks. This new construct is easier to use than the previous solution based on ad-hoc data signals, and semantically more elegant as it avoids unexpected deadlocks. Activation signals permit realistic situations such as halting, priorities, scenarios, and pace relations between synchronous components to be modeled at a suitable level of abstraction. They can be smoothly translated into LNT without affecting the rest of the translation.

As regards the specification of properties, to reduce the complexity of using full-fledged temporal logics, we have also proposed a property specification language dedicated to GALS systems, based upon a set of temporal logic patterns, which capture frequently encountered behaviours, encompassing both time-critical and untimed aspects of GALS systems. Those patterns include deadlock, livelock, safety, liveness, and fairness properties. The semantics of the proposed patterns have been defined by translation into the MCL language.

As regards the GRL2LNT tool, nine successive versions have been released, to take into account the syntactic changes in the GRL language, to correct about 20 bugs, to eliminate compilation warnings, and to implement the following new features:

In addition, three manual pages have been written to document respectively the GRL language, the GRL2LNT translator tool, and the GRL.OPEN shell script. The GRL non-regression test base has been extended and now contains 230 correct examples and 400 incorrect examples.

An article describing the GRL language and its associated tools has been submitted to an international journal.

Translation from BPMN to LNT

Participant : Gwen Salaün.

Business processes support the modeling and the implementation of software as workflows of local and inter-process activities. Taking over structuring and composition, evolution has become a central concern in software development. We believe this should be taken into account as soon as the modeling of business processes, which can thereafter be made executable using process engines or model-to-code transformations. We advocate that business process evolution can be formally analyzed in order to compare different versions of processes, identify precisely the differences between them, and ensure the desired consistency.

To reach this objective, we developed, in collaboration with Pascal Poizat (LIP6, Paris), a model transformation from the BPMN standard notation to the LNT process algebra. We then proposed a set of relations for comparing business processes at the formal model level. With reference to related work, we proposed a richer set of comparison primitives supporting renaming, refinement, property- and context-awareness. Thanks to the implementation of a tool that integrates with the Eclipse IDE and behind-the-scene interaction with the CADP verification toolbox, we put the checking of evolution within the reach of business process designers. Our approach is fully automated and has been applied for evaluation to a large set of BPMN processes.

Other Language Developments

Participants : Hugues Evrard, Hubert Garavel, Frédéric Lang, Eric Léo, Wendelin Serwe.

The ability to compile and verify formal specifications with complex, user-defined operations and data structures is a key feature of the CADP toolbox since its very origins. A long-run effort has been recently undertaken to ensure a uniform treatment of types, values, and functions across all the various CADP tools.

In 2015, the connection to external software development tools has progressed. The support of the LOTOS and LNT languages in the Emacs/XEmacs, jEdit, and Vim editors has improved. More text editors are now supported, including Nano, Notepad++, and all the text editors compliant with GtkSourceView 3.0 (including the Gedit editor of Gnome). Pretty-printers such as a2ps and the LaTeX "listings" package are also supported. Configuration files for three CADP languages (MCL, SVL, and XTL) and three CADP formats (BES, NUPN, and RBC) have been added.

Also, with the help of its principal author Pierre Boullier (Inria, Alpage), we corrected a memory allocation bug in the SYNTAX parser generator, which is used in most of the compilers developed by the CONVECS team.