Detecting races in ensembles of message sequence charts

Edith Elkind, Blaise Genest, Doron Peled

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The analysis of message sequence charts (MSCs) is highly important in preventing common problems in communication protocols. Detecting race conditions, i.e., possible discrepancies in event order, was studied for a single MSC and for MSC graphs (a graph where each node consists of a single MSC, also called HMSC). For the former case, this problem can be solved in quadratic time, while for the latter case it was shown to be undecidable. However, the prevailing real-life situation is that a collection of MSCs, called here an ensemble, describing the different possible scenarios of the system behavior, is provided, rather than a single MSC or an MSC graph. For an ensemble of MSCs, a potential race condition in one of its MSCs can be compensated by another MSC in which the events occur in a different order. We provide a polynomial algorithm for detecting races in an ensemble. On the other hand, we show that in order to prevent races, the size of an ensemble may have to grow exponentially with the number of messages. Also, we initiate the formal study of the standard MSC coregion construct, which is used to relax the order among events of a process. We show that by using this construct, we can provide more compact race-free ensembles; however, detecting races becomes NP-complete.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTools and Algorithms for the Construction and Analysis of Systems - 13th International Conference, TACAS 2007. Part of the Joint European Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2007
EditorsOrna Grumberg, Michael Huth
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783540712091
ISBN (Print)9783540712084
StatePublished - 2007
Event13th International Conference on Tools and Algorithms for the Construction and Analysis of Systems, (TACAS 2007) - Braga, Portugal
Duration: 24 Mar 20071 Apr 2007

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume4424 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference13th International Conference on Tools and Algorithms for the Construction and Analysis of Systems, (TACAS 2007)


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