© 2007

Modelling Distributed Systems


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-VIII
  2. Wan Fokkink
    Pages 1-4
  3. Wan Fokkink
    Pages 5-12
  4. Wan Fokkink
    Pages 13-28
  5. Wan Fokkink
    Pages 29-40
  6. Wan Fokkink
    Pages 41-67
  7. Wan Fokkink
    Pages 69-79
  8. Wan Fokkink
    Pages 81-100
  9. Wan Fokkink
    Pages 101-124
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 125-151

About this book


A distributed system is driven by separate components that are executed in parallel, and protocols for such systems form a major aspect of system design in today’s world of wireless and mobile networking. Process algebras are languages for the description of elementary parallel systems and are used to study the behavioural properties of distributed systems, but they often lack the ability to handle data.

This textbook guides students through algebraic specification and verification of distributed systems, and some of the most prominent formal verification techniques. The author employs µCRL as the vehicle, a language developed to combine process algebra and abstract data types. Chapters 2 and 3 explain the basics of abstract data types and process algebra, and guide the reader through the syntax and semantics of µCRL; Chap. 4 examines abstraction from internal behaviour; Chap. 5 covers specifications of standard protocols; Chap. 6 shows how to transform protocol specifications into labelled transition systems; Chap. 7 explains algorithms on labelled transition systems; and Chap. 8 presents symbolic verification techniques; finally, the Appendix gives a brief overview of the µCRL toolset.

The book evolved from introductory courses on protocol verification taught to undergraduate and graduate students of computer science, and the text is supported throughout with examples and exercises; full solutions are provided in an appendix, while exercise sheets, lab exercises, example specifications and lecturer slides will be available on the author's website. Researchers in the field can use the book as a broad overview of the state of the art in algebraic specification and verification of distributed systems on the basis of a modern verification tool.


Algorithms algorithm computer computer science distributed systems formal verification modeling semantics verification

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science Section Theoretical Computer ScienceVrije Universiteit AmsterdamDe Boelelaan 1081aThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
IT & Software
Energy, Utilities & Environment


From the reviews:

"The main goal of this book is to introduce novel techniques for the formal description and analysis of distributed systems. The book covers three areas connected with the modelling of distributed systems. … is divided into 8 chapters and an appendix giving explanations on how to use some important tool sets. … is very readable. It is recommended for students, teachers and researchers in the area of distributed systems." (E. Kostolansky, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1130 (8), 2008)

"This textbook contains an excellent survey of prominent formal verification and modeling techniques using algebraic specification and verification of distributed systems. … The flow of the text is smooth, with clear definitions and figures when necessary. … The book also contains an index and ample references to a rich bibliography that instructors, students, and researchers will find very useful. … I highly recommend this book for the advanced study of the modeling and verification of distributed systems." (George Dimitoglou, ACM Computing Reviews, November, 2008)