Relativity and Abstract State Machines

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1 Citation (SciVal)


The Abstract State Machine (ASM) formalism has proved an effective and durable foundation for the formal semantics of SDL. The distributed ASMs that underpin the SDL semantics are defined in terms of agents that execute ASM programs concurrently, acting on partial views of a global state. The discrete identities of successive global states are ensured by allowing input from the external world only between steps, and by having all agents refer to an external global time. But distributed systems comprising independent agents do not have a natural global time. Nor do they have natural global states. This paper takes well-known concepts from relativity and applies them to ASMs. The spacetime in which an ASM exists and moves is defined, and some properties that must be preserved by transformations of the frame of reference of an ASM are identified. Practical implications of this approach are explored through reservation and web service examples.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSystem Analysis and Modeling
Subtitle of host publicationTheory and Practice
EditorsØystein Haugen, Rick Reed, Reinhard Gotzhein
Number of pages16
VolumeLNCS 7744
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-36757-1
Publication statusPublished - 02 Feb 2013
Event7th International Workshop: SAM 2012 - Innsbruck, Austria
Duration: 01 Oct 201202 Oct 2012

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference7th International Workshop
Period01 Oct 201202 Oct 2012


  • Abstract State Machine
  • Formal Semantics
  • Distributed Systems
  • SDL
  • spacetime
  • frame of reference


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