Merrick Oost-Rosengren Successfully Defends Thesis on Early Component Verification using Colored Petri Nets

Just before the summer holidays, another master student has finished his project. This time, it is Merrick Oost-Rosengren who successfully defended his thesis “Formal Verification of Components through Mirroring of Coloured Petri Nets“. Parts of this work was done as an internship with TNO-ESI in collaboration with Thales.

This research addresses a challenge in distributed component-based systems, where different components are developed by different teams, perhaps even different organizations, over time. The problem is that when components are ultimately integrated, their interactions may cause deadlocks, livelock, or unbounded memory behavior. Fixing such problems late in the development process is very costly. An alternative approach is to model components, or component interfaces, early in the design process and use model checking to verify the behavior of the component and its interactions. However, we may not know which components it will interact with yet. Perhaps they have not yet been developed?

The thesis addresses this challenge by proposing a methodology and corresponding tool chain, where components as modelled as Colored Petri Nets from which a verification model, a mirror of the component that captures relevant possible behaviors of interacting components, is automatically generated. As a part of the methodology, the thesis proposes a new class of Colored Petri Nets called Mirrorable Open Colored Petri Nets. This class combines features of existing Colored Petri Nets and Open Petri Nets, and also adds extra semantics to allow the component to be mirrored. It also describes methods for mirroring such a net and fusing the mirror with the original component, such that the components and its interactions can be verified using reachability analysis.

We congratulate Merrick on his successful defense and wish him a lovely summer!

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