Implementing and verifying the safety of the transactor model

Authors
Boodman, Brian D.
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Other Contributors
Varela, Carlos A.
Issue Date
2008-05
Keywords
Computer science
Degree
MS
Terms of Use
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
This electronic version is a licensed copy owned by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. Copyright of original work retained by author.
Full Citation
Abstract
The transactor model is an extension of the actor model designed to tolerate failures in distributed systems. Transactors can provide guarantees about consistency of a distributed system’s state in the face of message loss and temporary failures of computing nodes. The model introduces dependency information and a two-phase checkpointing protocol. The added dependency information enables transactors to track the interdependencies caused by communications between actors, making it possible to ensure that the state of the distributed program as a whole remains globally consistent. This thesis discusses the use of three tools in order to test and prove the safety of the transactor model. We used Maude rewrite systems as a tool to test the model behavior and to discover problems with the model. During this stage, we discovered a safety bug and proposed changes to fix it. We then used the Athena proof verification system to show that the updated model is safe. Finally, we used the Salsa actor programming language as a basis for a higher-level transactor-based prototype programming language. First, we developed a prototype implementation of the transactor model using Maude. Maude’s underlying rewriting rules system is well-suited towards developing an executable operational semantics for concurrent programming models. The implementation was used to test example programs and check the transactor model’s safety. This prototype was in fact used to discover a safety error. Subsequently, we wrote a formal proof in the Athena language. As a multi-sorted first order logic system, Athena provides an effective means of representing the transactor model’s correctness properties. Because Athena proofs are computer-checkable, they are more reliable than traditional proofs. Further, Athena permits the use of automated theorem proving, allowing us to skip tedious steps which would otherwise unnecessarily complicate the proof’s readability. Finally, we developed a coordination language using Salsa and Java. The language provides a practical demonstration of the use of the transactor model and shows some of the potential issues in creating an effective implementation of the model.
The transactor model is an extension of the actor model designed to tolerate failures in distributed systems. Transactors can provide guarantees about consistency of a distributed system’s state in the face of message loss and temporary failures of computing nodes. The model introduces dependency information and a two-phase checkpointing protocol. The added dependency information enables transactors to track the interdependencies caused by communications between actors, making it possible to ensure that the state of the distributed program as a whole remains globally consistent. This thesis discusses the use of three tools in order to test and prove the safety of the transactor model. We used Maude rewrite systems as a tool to test the model behavior and to discover problems with the model. During this stage, we discovered a safety bug and proposed changes to fix it. We then used the Athena proof verification system to show that the updated model is safe. Finally, we used the Salsa actor programming language as a basis for a higher-level transactor-based prototype programming language. First, we developed a prototype implementation of the transactor model using Maude. Maude’s underlying rewriting rules system is well-suited towards developing an executable operational semantics for concurrent programming models. The implementation was used to test example programs and check the transactor model’s safety. This prototype was in fact used to discover a safety error. Subsequently, we wrote a formal proof in the Athena language. As a multi-sorted first order logic system, Athena provides an effective means of representing the transactor model’s correctness properties. Because Athena proofs are computer-checkable, they are more reliable than traditional proofs. Further, Athena permits the use of automated theorem proving, allowing us to skip tedious steps which would otherwise unnecessarily complicate the proof’s readability. Finally, we developed a coordination language using Salsa and Java. The language provides a practical demonstration of the use of the transactor model and shows some of the potential issues in creating an effective implementation of the model.
Description
May 2008
School of Science
Department
Dept. of Computer Science
Publisher
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
Relationships
Rensselaer Theses and Dissertations Online Collection
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CC BY-NC-ND. Users may download and share copies with attribution in accordance with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. No commercial use or derivatives are permitted without the explicit approval of the author.