School of Computing

A process-oriented architecture for complex system modelling

Carl G. Ritson and Peter H. Welch

In Alistair A. McEwan, Steve Schneider, Wilson Ifill, and Peter Welch, editors, Communicating Process Architectures 2007, volume 65 of Concurrent Systems Engineering Series, pages 182-196, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, July 2007. IOS Press.


A fine-grained massively-parallel process-oriented model of platelets (potentially artificial) within a blood vessel is presented. This is a CSP inspired design, expressed and implemented using the occam-pi language. It is part of the TUNA pilot study on nanite assemblers at the universities of York, Surrey and Kent. The aim for this model is to engineer emergent behaviour from the platelets, such that they respond to a wound in the blood vessel wall in a way similar to that found in the human body -- i.e. the formation of clots to stem blood flow from the wound and facilitate healing. An architecture for a three dimensional model (relying strongly on the dynamic and mobile capabilities of occam-pi) is given, along with mechanisms for visualisation and interaction. The biological accuracy of the current model is very approximate. However, its process-oriented nature enables simple refinement (through the addition of processes modelling different stimulants/inhibitors of the clotting reaction, different platelet types and other participating organelles) to greater and greater realism. Even with the current system, simple experiments are possible and have scientific interest (e.g. the effect of platelet density on the success of the clotting mechanism in stemming blood flow: too high or too low and the process fails). General principles for the design of large and complex system models are drawn. The described case study runs to millions of processes engaged in ever-changing communication topologies. It is free from deadlock, livelock, race hazards and starvation {\em by design}, employing a small set of synchronisation patterns for which we have proven safety theorems.

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Bibtex Record

author = {Carl G. Ritson and Peter H. Welch},
title = {A Process-Oriented Architecture for Complex System Modelling},
month = {July},
year = {2007},
pages = {182-196},
keywords = {determinacy analysis, Craig interpolants},
note = {},
doi = {},
url = {},
    publication_type = {inproceedings},
    submission_id = {3452_1207556264},
    ISBN = {978-1-58603-767-3},
    booktitle = {Communicating Process Architectures 2007},
    editor = {Alistair A. McEwan and Steve Schneider and Wilson Ifill and Peter Welch},
    volume = {65},
    series = {Concurrent Systems Engineering Series},
    address = {Amsterdam, The Netherlands},
    publisher = {IOS Press},
    ISSN = {1383-7575},
    refereed = {yes},

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