Validating Distributed Object and Component Designs

Nima Kaveh and Wolfgang Emmerich

Dept. of Computer Science,
University College London
Dept. of Computer Science
Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT UK


Distributed systems are increasingly built using distributed object or component middleware. The dynamic behaviour of those distributed systems is influenced by the particular combination of middleware synchronisation and threading primitives used for communication amongst distributed objects. A designer may accidentally choose combinations that cause a distributed application to enter undesirable states or violate liveness properties. We exploit the fact that modern object and component middleware offer only a small number of underlying synchronisation primitives and threading policies. For each of these we define a UML stereotype and a formal process algebra specification of the stereotype semantics. We devise a means to specify safety and liveness properties in UML and again map those to process algebra safety and liveness properties. We can thus apply model checking techniques to verify that a given design does indeed meet the desired properties. We propose how to reduce the state space that needs to be model checked by exploiting middleware characteristics. We finally show how model checking results can be related back to the input UML models. In this way we can hide the formalism and the model checking process entirely from UML designers, which we regard as critical for the industrial exploitation of this research.

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Updated on: 09/06/2003
Wolfgang Emmerich