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Title: Reaching and distinguishing states of distributed systems
Authors: Hierons, RM
Keywords: Finite state machine;Testing;Distributed systems;Multiport systems
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Citation: SIAM Journal of Computing, 2010, 39 (8), pp. 3480 - 3500
Abstract: Some systems interact with their environment at physically distributed interfaces, called ports, and in testing such a system it is normal to place a tester at each port. Each tester observes only the events at its port and it is known that this limited observational power introduces additional controllability and observability problems into testing. Given a multiport finite state machine (FSM) $M$, we consider the problems of defining strategies for the testers either to reach a given state of $M$ or to distinguish two states of $M$. These are important problems since most techniques for testing from a single-port FSM use sequences that reach and distinguish states. Both problems can be solved in low-order polynomial time for single-port FSMs but we prove that the corresponding decision problems are undecidable for multiport FSMs. However, we also show that they can be solved in low-order polynomial times for deterministic FSMs if we restrict our attention to controllable tests. These results have important ramifications for testing from a multiport FSM since they suggest that methods for testing from a single-port FSM cannot be easily adapted. In addition, two FSMs can be distinguished if and only if their initial states can be distinguished and so the results suggest that, in contrast to single-port FSMs, we cannot expect to produce general complete test generation methods for multiport FSMs.
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Appears in Collections:Computer Science
Dept of Computer Science Research Papers
Software Engineering (B-SERC)

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