From finite state communication protocols to high-level message sequence charts

Anca Muscholl, Doron Peled

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

10 Scopus citations


The ITU standard for MSCs provides a useful framework for visualizing communication protocols. HMSCs can describe a collection of MSC scenarios in early stages of system design. They extend finite state systems by partial order semantics and asynchronous, unbounded message exchange. Usually we ask whether an HMSC can be implemented, for instance by a finite state protocol. This question has been shown to be undecidable [5]. Motivated by the paradigm of reverse engineering we study in this paper the converse translation, specifically the question whether a finite state communication protocol can be transformed into an equivalent HMSC. This kind of translation is needed when e.g. different forms of specification (HMSC, finite automata, temporal logic) must be integrated into a single one, for instance into an HMSC. We show in this paper that translating finite state automata into HMSCs is feasible under certain natural assumptions. Specifically, we show that we can test in polynomial time whether a finite state protocol given by a Büchi automaton is equivalent to an HMSC, provided that the automaton satisfies the diamond property (the precise bound is NLOGSPACE-complete). The diamond property is a natural property induced by concurrency. Under the weaker assumption of bounded B̈uchi automata we show that the test is co-NP-complete. Finally, without any buffer restriction the problem is shown to be undecidable.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAutomata, Languages and Programming - 28th International Colloquium, ICALP 2001, Proceedings
EditorsFernando Orejas, Paul G. Spirakis, Jan van Leeuwen
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)3540422870, 9783540422877
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
Event28th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming, ICALP 2001 - Crete, Greece
Duration: 8 Jul 200112 Jul 2001

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume2076 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference28th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming, ICALP 2001


  • Bunded automata
  • HMSC
  • Message sequence charts
  • Prtial order specification
  • Secification


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