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Structured Occurence Nets: A formalism for aiding system failure prevention and analysis techniques

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Brian RandellORCiD, Professor Maciej KoutnyORCiD



This paper introduces the concept of a ‘structured occurrence net’, which as its name indicates is based on that of an ‘occurrence net’, a well-established formalism for an abstract record that represents causality and concurrency information concerning a single execution of a system. Structured occurrence nets consist of multiple occurrence nets, associated together by means of various types of relationship, and are intended for recording or predicting, either the actual behaviour of complex systems as they communicate and evolve, or evidence that is being gathered and analysed concerning their alleged past behaviour. We provide a formal basis for the new formalism and show how it can be used to gain better understanding of complex fault-error-failure chains (i) among co-existing communicating systems, (ii) between systems and their sub-systems, and (iii) involving systems that are controlling, creating or modifying other systems. We then go on to discuss how, with appropriate tools support, perhaps using extended versions of existing tools, structured occurrence nets could form a basis for improved techniques of system failure prevention and analysis. (This is a revised and significantly extended version of TR-1120.)

Publication metadata

Author(s): Randell B, Koutny M

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2009

Pages: 47

Print publication date: 01/08/2009

Source Publication Date: August 2009

Report Number: 1162

Institution: School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne