Brain and Mind

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 199–213 | Cite as

Using Process Algebra to Describe Human and Software Behaviors

  • Yingxu Wang


Although there are various ways to express actions and behaviors in natural languages, it is found in cognitive informatics that human and system behaviors may be classified into three basic categories: to be, to have, and to do. All mathematical means and forms, in general, are an abstract description of these three categories of system behaviors and their common rules. Taking this view, mathematical logic may be perceived as the abstract means for describing ‘to be,’ set theory for describing 'to have,' and algebras, particularly the process algebra, for describing ‘to do.’ This is a fundamental view toward the formal description and modeling of human and system behaviors in general, and software behaviors in particular, because a software system can be perceived as a virtual agent of human beings, and it is created to do something repeatable, to extend human capability, reachability, and/or memory capacity. The author found that both human and software behaviors can be described by a three-dimensional representative model comprising action, time, and space. For software system behaviors, the three dimensions are known as mathematical operations, event/process timing, and memory manipulation. This paper introduces the real-time process algebra (RTPA) that serves as an expressive notation system for describing thoughts and notions of dynamic software behaviors. Experimental case studies on applications of RTPA in describing the equivalent software and human behaviors as a series of actions and cognitive processes are demonstrated with real-world examples.

cognitive informatics dynamic behavior description notion of action process algebra RTPA 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yingxu Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Theoretical and Empirical Software Engineering Research Center, Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of CalgaryCalgary, AlbertaCanada

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