A Theory of Protocol Composition

03/04/2022
by   Laura Bocchi, et al.
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Real-world communication protocols are often built out of a number of simpler protocols that cater for some specific functionality (e.g., banking, authentication). However much of the formal definitions of protocols used for program verification treat protocols as monolithic units. Composition is considered for implementations of a protocol, but not for the protocols themselves as engineering components. We propose primitives and techniques for the modular composition of protocols. Our notion of composition defines an interleaving of two or more protocols in a way that satisfies user-specified context-dependent constraints which serve to explain "contact points" between the protocols. The resulting approach gives a theoretical basis for protocol (re-)engineering based on a process calculus with constraint annotations. We have implemented our approach as a tool for Erlang that supports generation of protocol compositions with formal guarantees, and code generation/extraction.

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