Editors: Roland Meyer, Uwe Nestmann

This special issue contains revised and extended versions of eight articles presented at CONCUR 2017, the 28th International Conference on Concurrency Theory, which was held on September 5–8, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

We introduce a new setting where a population of agents, each modelled by a finite-state system, are controlled uniformly: the controller applies the same action to every agent. The framework is largely inspired by the control of a biological system, namely a population of yeasts, where the controller may only change the environment common to all cells. We study a synchronisation problem for such populations: no matter how individual agents react to the actions of the controller, the controller aims at driving all agents synchronously to a target state. The agents are naturally represented by a non-deterministic finite state automaton (NFA), the same for every agent, and the whole system is encoded as a 2-player game. The first player (Controller) chooses actions, and the second player (Agents) resolves non-determinism for each agent. The game with m agents is called the m -population game. This gives rise to a parameterized control problem (where control refers to 2 player games), namely the population control problem: can Controller control the m-population game for all m in N whatever Agents does?

We study proof techniques for bisimilarity based on unique solution of equations. We draw inspiration from a result by Roscoe in the denotational setting of CSP and for failure semantics, essentially stating that an equation (or a system of equations) whose infinite unfolding never produces a divergence has the unique-solution property. We transport this result onto the operational setting of CCS and for bisimilarity. We then exploit the operational approach to: refine the theorem, distinguishing between different forms of divergence; derive an abstract formulation of the theorems, on generic LTSs; adapt the theorems to other equivalences such as trace equivalence, and to preorders such as trace inclusion. We compare the resulting techniques to enhancements of the bisimulation proof method (the `up-to techniques'). Finally, we study the theorems in name-passing calculi such as the asynchronous $\pi$-calculus, and use them to revisit the completeness part of the proof of full abstraction of Milner's encoding of the $\lambda$-calculus into the $\pi$-calculus for Lévy-Longo Trees.

We consider the model-checking problem for freeze LTL on one-counter automata (OCA). Freeze LTL extends LTL with the freeze quantifier, which allows one to store different counter values of a run in registers so that they can be compared with one another. As the model-checking problem is undecidable in general, we focus on the flat fragment of freeze LTL, in which the usage of the freeze quantifier is restricted. In a previous work, Lechner et al. showed that model checking for flat freeze LTL on OCA with binary encoding of counter updates is decidable and in 2NEXPTIME. In this paper, we prove that the problem is, in fact, NEXPTIME-complete no matter whether counter updates are encoded in unary or binary. Like Lechner et al., we rely on a reduction to the reachability problem in OCA with parameterized tests (OCA(P)). The new aspect is that we simulate OCA(P) by alternating two-way automata over words. This implies an exponential upper bound on the parameter values that we exploit towards an NP algorithm for reachability in OCA(P) with unary updates. We obtain our main result as a corollary. As another application, relying on a reduction by Bundala and Ouaknine, one obtains an alternative proof of the known fact that reachability in closed parametric timed automata with one parametric clock is in NEXPTIME.

The nominal transition systems (NTSs) of Parrow et al. describe the operational semantics of nominal process calculi. We study NTSs in terms of the nominal residual transition systems (NRTSs) that we introduce. We provide rule formats for the specifications of NRTSs that ensure that the associated NRTS is an NTS and apply them to the operational specifications of the early and late pi-calculus. We also explore alternative specifications of the NTSs in which we allow residuals of abstraction sort, and introduce translations between the systems with and without residuals of abstraction sort. Our study stems from the Nominal SOS of Cimini et al. and from earlier works in nominal sets and nominal logic by Gabbay, Pitts and their collaborators.

Flow networks have attracted a lot of research in computer science. Indeed, many questions in numerous application areas can be reduced to questions about flow networks. Many of these applications would benefit from a framework in which one can formally reason about properties of flow networks that go beyond their maximal flow. We introduce Flow Logics: modal logics that treat flow functions as explicit first-order objects and enable the specification of rich properties of flow networks. The syntax of our logic BFL* (Branching Flow Logic) is similar to the syntax of the temporal logic CTL*, except that atomic assertions may be flow propositions, like $> \gamma$ or $\geq \gamma$, for $\gamma \in \mathbb{N}$, which refer to the value of the flow in a vertex, and that first-order quantification can be applied both to paths and to flow functions. We present an exhaustive study of the theoretical and practical aspects of BFL*, as well as extensions and fragments of it. Our extensions include flow quantifications that range over non-integral flow functions or over maximal flow functions, path quantification that ranges over paths along which non-zero flow travels, past operators, and first-order quantification of flow values. We focus on the model-checking problem and show that it is PSPACE-complete, as it is for CTL*. Handling of flow quantifiers, however, increases the complexity in terms of the network to ${\rm P}^{\rm NP}$, even for the LFL and BFL fragments, which are the […]

We present a generic partition refinement algorithm that quotients coalgebraic systems by behavioural equivalence, an important task in system analysis and verification. Coalgebraic generality allows us to cover not only classical relational systems but also, e.g. various forms of weighted systems and furthermore to flexibly combine existing system types. Under assumptions on the type functor that allow representing its finite coalgebras in terms of nodes and edges, our algorithm runs in time $\mathcal{O}(m\cdot \log n)$ where $n$ and $m$ are the numbers of nodes and edges, respectively. The generic complexity result and the possibility of combining system types yields a toolbox for efficient partition refinement algorithms. Instances of our generic algorithm match the run-time of the best known algorithms for unlabelled transition systems, Markov chains, deterministic automata (with fixed alphabets), Segala systems, and for color refinement.

Open bisimilarity is defined for open process terms in which free variables may appear. The insight is, in order to characterise open bisimilarity, we move to the setting of intuitionistic modal logics. The intuitionistic modal logic introduced, called $\mathcal{OM}$, is such that modalities are closed under substitutions, which induces a property known as intuitionistic hereditary. Intuitionistic hereditary reflects in logic the lazy instantiation of free variables performed when checking open bisimilarity. The soundness proof for open bisimilarity with respect to our intuitionistic modal logic is mechanised in Abella. The constructive content of the completeness proof provides an algorithm for generating distinguishing formulae, which we have implemented. We draw attention to the fact that there is a spectrum of bisimilarity congruences that can be characterised by intuitionistic modal logics.

Pomset automata are an operational model of weak bi-Kleene algebra, which describes programs that can fork an execution into parallel threads, upon completion of which execution can join to resume as a single thread. We characterize a fragment of pomset automata that admits a decision procedure for language equivalence. Furthermore, we prove that this fragment corresponds precisely to series-rational expressions, i.e., rational expressions with an additional operator for bounded parallelism. As a consequence, we obtain a new proof that equivalence of series-rational expressions is decidable.