High Level System Design and Analysis Using Abstract State Machines

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We provide an introduction to a practical method for rigorous system development which has been used successfully, under industrial constraints, for design and analysis of complex hardware/software systems. The method allows one to start system development with a trustworthy high level system specification and to link such a “ground model” in a well documented and inspectable way through intermediate design steps to its implementation. The method enhances traditional operational modelling and analysis techniques by incorporating the most general abstraction, decomposition and refinement mechanisms which have become available through Gurevich’s Abstract State Machines. Through its versatility the ASM approach is non-monolithic and integratable at any development level into current design and analysis environments. We also collect experimental evidence for the ASM thesis, a generalization of Turing’s thesis.

Part of the material appearing here has been presented to the ASM Workshop held in Magdeburg, September 21–22, 1998, as part of the Annual GI-Meeting.