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Detecting and correcting errors in parallel object oriented systems

Purchase, Jan A.; (1992) Detecting and correcting errors in parallel object oriented systems. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access


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Our research concerns the development of an operational formalism for the in-source specification of parallel, object oriented systems. These specifications are used to enunciate the behavioural semantics of objects, as a means of enhancing their reliability. A review of object oriented languages concludes that the advance in language sophistication heralded by the object oriented paradigm has, so far, failed to produce a commensurate increase in software reliability. The lack of support in modern object oriented languages for the notion of 'valid object behaviour', as distinct from state and operations, undermines the potential power of the abstraction. Furthermore, it weakens the ability of such languages to detect behavioural problems, manifest at run-time. As a result, in-language facilities for the signalling and handling of undesirable program behaviours or states (for example, assertions) are still in their infancy. This is especially true of parallel systems, where the scope for subtle error is greater. The first goal of this work was to construct an operational model of a general purpose, parallel, object oriented system in order to ascertain the fundamental set of event classes that constitute its observable behaviour. Our model is built on the CSP process calculus and uses a subset of the Z notation to express some aspects of state. This alphabet was then used to construct a formalism designed to augment each object type description with the operational specification of an object's behaviour: Event Pattern Specifications (EPS). EPSs are a labeled list of acceptable object behaviours which form part of the definition of every type. The thesis includes a description of the design and implementation of EPSs as part of an exception handling mechanism for the parallel, object oriented language Solve. Using this implementation, we have established that the run-time checking of EPS specifications is feasible, albeit it with considerable overhead. Issues arising from this implementation are discussed and we describe the visualization of EPSs and their use in semantic browsing.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Detecting and correcting errors in parallel object oriented systems
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Applied sciences; Parallel computing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107564
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