Formal development of actor programs using structured algebraic petri nets

  • Didier Buchs
  • Nicolas Guelfi
Paper Sessions Concurrency: Semantics
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 694)


This paper provides an actor semantics using a formalism called CO-OPN (Concurrent Object Oriented Petri Nets) which is modular and incorporates both concurrency and data structuring features. Actor languages are the main model of concurrent object-oriented languages, but they are rarely well formalized. CO-OPN is a structured extension of Petri nets and algebraic abstract data types. A CO-OPN specification is composed of a set of objects (algebraic abstract data types and Petri nets), and of a synchronous communication mechanism. This synchronization mechanism is defined in order to keep object state encapsulation, allowing the independent specification of each object. The translation of an actor program into a CO-OPN specification is done by building objects for actors. The adequacy of CO-OPN in describing the semantics of concurrent object-oriented languages is shown by this formal semantic description of actor languages. Some particular implementations are suggested, improving the concurrent execution of actor programs.


Formal program development modular specification actor languages semantics high-level Petri nets algebraic abstract data types 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [AGHA 86]
    G. Agha: “Actors: a model of concurrent computation in distributed systems”, The MIT Press (1986)Google Scholar
  2. [B&F&R92]
    D. Buchs, J. Flumet, P. Racloz “Producing prototypes from CO-OPN specifications”, 3rd IEEE International workshop on Rapid system Prototyping, USA, June 1992.Google Scholar
  3. [B&G 91]
    D. Buchs, N. Guelfi “CO-OPN: A Concurrent Object Oriented Petri Net Approach for System Specification”, 12th International Conference on Application And Theory of Petri Nets, Aarhus 1991.Google Scholar
  4. [B&G 92A]
    D. Buchs, N Guelfi “Distributed System Specification using CO-OPN”, 3rd IEEE Int. workshop on Futur trends of Distributed Computing Systems, Taipei 1992.Google Scholar
  5. [B&G 92B]
    D. Buchs, N. Guelfi “Open distributed programming using the object-oriented specification formalism CO-OPN”, 5th International conference on Putting into Practice Methods and Tools for information system Design, Nantes 1992.Google Scholar
  6. [B&G 92C]
    D. Buchs, N. Guelfi “A Semantic Description of Actor Languages using CO-OPN”, Abstract in the 14th Int. Conference On Software Engeeniring, Melbourne, 1992Google Scholar
  7. [BIDO 89]
    M. Bidoit “PLUSS, un language pour le developpement de spécification algébrique modulaires” Thèse de doctorat d'Etat, LRI UPS OrsayGoogle Scholar
  8. [CLIN 81]
    W.D. Clinger “Foundations of actors semantics”, AI-TR-633, MIT artificial intelligence laboratory, (1981).Google Scholar
  9. [E&M 85]
    H.Ehrig, B.Mahr “fundamentals of algebraic specification 1: equations and initial semantics,Springer Verlag 1985.”Google Scholar
  10. [ENGE 90]
    J. Engelfriet, G. Leih, G. Rozenberg “Parallel object-based systems and Petri nets”, Technical Reports 90-04 and 90-05, Leiden University, 1990.Google Scholar
  11. [GUEL 90]
    N.Guelfi “Classes de réseaux structurés: étude, utilisation et modification.” Rapport de stage de DEA 90, LRI UPS Orsay (1990)Google Scholar
  12. [HOPK 89]
    R.P. Hopkins, M. Koutny, B.Randell “Some results on dynamically structures communicating systems”, research report, Univ. of Newcastle upon Tyne (1989)Google Scholar
  13. [JANS 89]
    D. Janssens & G. Rozenberg “Actors grammars”, Math. syst. Th. 22, 75–107, (1989).Google Scholar
  14. [JENS 81]
    K. Jensen “Coloured Petri Nets and the invariant method”, TCS 14, pp 317–336, North Holland Pub.Co (1981)Google Scholar
  15. [MILN 89]
    R. Milner “Communication and Concurrency”. Prentice Hall, 1989.Google Scholar
  16. [NIER 90]
    O. Nierstrasz “A guide to Specifying Concurrent Behaviour with Abacus”, in Object Management (ed) D. Tsichritzis, University of Geneva, 1990.Google Scholar
  17. [REIS 85]
    W. Reisig “Petri Nets” Springer Verlag (1985)Google Scholar
  18. [V&S 90]
    G. Vidal-Naquet, Y. Sami “Formalisation of the behavior of actors by colored Petri nets and some applications”, PARLE 91, LNCS N∘506.Google Scholar
  19. [VAUT 87]
    J.Vautherin “Parallel systems specification with coloured Petri nets and algebraic specification” LNCS ICPN 87Google Scholar
  20. [YOKO 86]
    Y.Yokote, M.Tokoro The Design and Implantation of Concurrent Smalltalk, SIGPLAN Notices, Vol 21, No 11, 1986.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Didier Buchs
    • 1
  • Nicolas Guelfi
    • 2
  1. 1.CUIUniversity of GENEVAGenève
  2. 2.LRIUniversity of Paris XIOrsayFrance

Personalised recommendations