Causality Interfaces and Compositional Causality Analysis

Edward A. Lee, Haiyang Zheng, Ye Zhou

Invited paper in Foundations of Interface Technologies (FIT), Satellite to CONCUR 2005, ENTCS TBD,
San Francisco, California, USA, August 21, 2005.

Prepublished version
Published version



In this paper, we consider concurrent models of computation where ”actors” (components that are in charge of their own actions) communicate by exchanging messages. The interfaces of actors principally consist of “ports,” which mediate the exchange of messages. Actor-oriented architectures contrast with and complement object-oriented models by emphasizing the exchange of data between concurrent components rather than transfer of control. Examples of such models of computation include the classical actor model, synchronous languages, dataflow models, and discrete-event models. Many of these models of computation benefit considerably from having access to causality information about the components. This paper augments the interfaces of such components to include such causality information. It shows how this causality information can be algebraically composed so that compositions of components acquire causality interfaces that are inferred from their components and the interconnections. We illustrate the use of these causality interfaces to statically analyze discrete-event models for uniqueness of behaviors, synchronous models for causality loops, and dataflow models for schedulability.