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This is an archived syllabus from 2013-2014

COMP31212 Concurrency and Process Algebra syllabus 2013-2014

COMP31212 Concurrency and Process Algebra

Level 3
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 47

Course leader: David Rydeheard

Additional staff: view all staff

Assessment methods

  • 100% Written exam
Sem 2 Lecture 1.4 Fri 10:00 - 10:00 -
Sem 2 Lecture 1.3 Mon 13:00 - 13:00 -
Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Rigorous Development


Concurrent or parallel execution of multiple programs holds out considerable potential in developing high-performance systems. However, developing correct concurrent programs, and subsequent testing, is extremely difficult as the interaction of programs brings new phenomena which are difficult to detect and analyse. This is a practical course in which we introduce a process algebraic modelling of concurrent systems and techniques for analysing correctness. An implementation is provided which allows us to prototype systems, and techniques for developing concurrent Java programs from the models are presented.


This course will provide a systematic treatment of concepts and issues in concurrency. The subject will be introduced via a small process algebra language, FSP, for specifying the concurrent behaviour of finite state processes. The Java language has built-in concurrency constructs and will be used to illustrate implementations of example specifications. Also the FSP language comes with software tools for animation and verification and these will be used in examples.

A wide variety of common concurrency problems will be investigated. Some of the underlying theory of the process algebra FSP and related algebras such as Milner's CCS and Hoare's CSP will be studied.

The course aims to:

  • Provide students with an understanding of concurrent systems, in particular how to model them using the process algebra FSP and how to implement them using Java.
  • Study techniques for the analysis of concurrent systems.
  • Introduce, via a set of case-studies, typical methods for solving concurrency problems.
  • Allow students to use a suite of tools for analysing FSP systems.



Problems and challenges in concurrency (1 lecture).

Modelling processes and concurrency using FSP

Communicating processes, labelled transition systems (2 lectures).

Concurrency in Java

Threads, constructs, behaviour, interacting multiple threads (3 lectures).

From specification to implementation

Translating FSP to Java (1 lecture).


Semantics and equivalence (3 lectures).

Mutual exclusion, monitors, semaphores (3 lectures)


Deadlock, safety, liveness, fairness (4 lectures).


Readers/writers, message-passing, termination (4 lectures).

Extending the model

Other process algebras (CSP, CSS) (1 lecture).

Exercises/revision (2 lectures)

Teaching methods


22, including exercise sessions

Feedback methods

Exercises are provided during the course with the opportunity for feedback on solutions, revision sessions are held and exam feedback is provided.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam (2 hours)
  • Lectures (24 hours)

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Problem solving

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to:

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP31212 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Reading list

No reading list found for COMP31212.

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.