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Paper Details

  title = "{A}lgebras of {A}ctions in {C}oncurrent {P}rocesses",
  author= "Burgin, Mark and Smith, Marc L.",
  editor= "McEwan, Alistair A. and Schneider, Steve and Ifill, Wilson and Welch, Peter H.",
  pages = "505--506",
  booktitle= "{C}ommunicating {P}rocess {A}rchitectures 2007",
  isbn= "978-1-58603-767-3",
  year= "2007",
  month= "jul",
  abstract= "We introduce a high-level metamodel, EAP
     (event-action-process), for reasoning about concurrent
     processes. EAP shares with CSP notions of observable events
     and processes, but as its name suggests, EAP is also
     concerned with actions. Actions represent an intermediate
     level of event composition that provide the basis for a
     hierarchical structure that builds up from individual,
     observable events, to processes that may themselves be
     units of composition. EAP\&\#8217;s composition hierarchy
     corresponds to the reality that intermediate units of
     composition exist, and that these intermediate units
     don\&\#8217;t always fall neatly within process
     boundaries. One prominent example of an intermediate unit
     of composition, or action, is threads. Threads of execution
     are capable of crossing process boundaries, and one popular
     programming paradigm, object-oriented programming,
     encourages this approach to concurrent program design.
     While we may advocate for more disciplined,
     process-oriented design, the demand for better models for
     reasoning about threads remains. On a more theoretical
     level, traces of a computation are also actions. Traces
     are event structures, composed by the CSP observer,
     according to a set of rules for recording the history of a
     computation. In one of the author\&\#8217;s model for
     viewcentric reasoning (VCR), the CSP observer is permitted
     to record simultaneous events without interleaving; and in
     previous joint work by the authors, the extended VCR (EVCR)
     model permits the CSP observer to record events with
     duration, so that events may overlap entirely, partially,
     or not at all. Sequential composition may be viewed as a
     special case of parallel composition\&\#8212;one of many
     forms of composition we wish to be better able to reason
     about. Since such diverse types of composition exist, at
     the event, action, and process levels; and because such
     problematic actions as threads exist in real systems,
     we must find more appropriate models to reason about such
     systems. To this end, we are developing algebras at
     different levels of compositionality to address these
     goals. In particular, we are interested in a corresponding
     hierarchy of algebras, at the event, action, and process
     levels. The present focus of our efforts is at the action
     level, since these are the least well understood. This talk
     presents fundamental notions of actions and examples
     of actions in the context of real systems. A diversity of
     possible compositions at the action level will be revealed
     and discussed, as well as our progress on the
     action algebra itself."

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