Friday, September 14, 2007

Moshe Vardi's Answers

Moshe Vardi has kindly sent me some brief answers to the questions I posted yesterday. I post them here in order to foster further discussion, and thank Moshe for his contribution.

  • What is the role/importance of real-time in modelling? Does industry want dense-time or discrete-time models?
Moshe: Complex hardware designs today are locally synchronous, but globally asynchronous. Using multiple clocks to specify temporal properties is very
important, but I personally saw, so far, no application that required
dense-time reasoning. (Perhaps timing analysis of circuits requires dense
  • How does one involve small- and medium-size companies in collaborations with concurrency theoreticians/practitioners? Does "company size" matter?
Moshe: Large companies can afford to think longer term and invest in internal/external research. This is quite harder to do with small companies, which typically looks for immediate solutions to their problems.
  • Is there any need for stochastic and probabilistic modelling in applications? More pointedly, have you met an example that you could not model because your tool does not support stochastic or probabilistic phenomena?
Moshe: I have not seen it so far, but I do hear people starting to talk about probabilistic behavior of computer circuits. Perhaps we'll see a growing need for stochastic modeling in a few years.

  • How can we, as a community, foster the building of industrial-strength tools based on sound theories?
Moshe: Academia can rarely build industrial-strength tools. Academic tools are
often the work of a single graduate student. Industry can put several PhD-level people on a single project.

  • What has concurrency theory offered industry so far? What are the next steps that the concurrency community should take in order to increase the impact of its research in an industrial setting? And what are future promising application areas for concurrency research?
Moshe: IMHO, the biggest successes of the concurrency-theory community, broadly
conceived, is model checking and the development of synchronous languages. At the same time, many research direction in concurrency theory, such as process calculi and bisimulation theory have had fairly minimal impact. The theory community is often attracted to research based on its theoretical appeal, which does not always correlate with its industrial applicability. This does not mean that industrial applicability should be the guiding principle of research. Nevertheless, it would be worthwhile to pause once in a few years and examine the potential applicability of
theoretical research.


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