Programming languages and tools with multiparty session

Voinea, Adriana Laura (2023) Programming languages and tools with multiparty session. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 2023VoineaPhD.pdf] PDF
Download (1MB)


Distributed software systems are used in a wide variety of applications, including health care, telecommunications, finance, and entertainment. These systems typically consist of multiple software components, each with its own local memory, that are deployed across networks of hosts and communicate by passing messages in order to achieve a common goal. Distributed systems offer several benefits, including scalability — since computation happens independently on each component, it is easy and generally inexpensive to add additional components and functionality as necessary; reliability—since systems can be made up of hundreds of components working together, there is little disruption if a single component fails; performance—since work loads can be broken up and sent to multiple components, distributed systems tend to be very efficient. However, they can also be difficult to implement and analyze due to the need for heterogeneous software components to communicate and synchronize correctly and the potential for hardware or software failures.

Distributed and concurrent programming is challenging due to the complexity of coordinating the communication and interactions between the various components of a system that may be running on different machines or different threads. Behavioural types can help to address some of these difficulties by providing a way to formally specify the communication between components of a distributed system. This specification can then be used to verify the correctness of the communication between these components using static typechecking, dynamic monitoring, or a combination of the two. Perhaps the most well-known form of behavioural types are session types. They define the sequences of messages that are exchanged between two or more parties in a communication protocol, as well as the order in which these messages are exchanged. More generally, behavioural types include typestate systems, which specify the state-dependent availability of operations, choreographies, which specify collective communication behaviour, and behavioural contracts that specify the expected behaviour of a system. By using behavioural types, it is possible to ensure that the communication between components of a distributed system is well-defined and follows a set of predefined rules, which can help to prevent errors and ensure that the system behaves correctly.

The focus of this thesis is on using session type systems to provide static guarantees about the runtime behaviour of concurrent programs. We investigate two strands of work in this context. The first strand focuses on the relationship between session types and linearity. Linearity is a property of certain resources, in this case communication channels, that can only be used once. For instance a linear variable can only be assigned once, after which it cannot be changed. This property is useful for session types because it helps to prevent race conditions and guarantees that no messages are lost or duplicated. We look at relaxing the standard access control in multiparty session types systems. This is typically based on linear or affine types, that offer strong guarantees of communication safety and session. However, these exclude many naturally occurring scenarios that make use of shared channels or need to store channels in shared data structures. We introduce a new and more flexible session type system, which allows channel references to be shared and stored in persistent data structures. We prove that the resulting language satisfies type safety, and we illustrate our type system through examples.

The second strand of research in this thesis looks at the expressive power of session types, and their connection to typestate for safe distributed programming in the Java language. Typestates are a way of annotating objects with a set of operations that are valid to perform on them at a given state. We expand the expressive power of two existing tools, use them to represent real-world case studies, and end by considering language usability and human factors.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Funder's Name: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Supervisor's Name: Gay, Professor Simon and Dardha, Dr. Ornela
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83946
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2023 16:31
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2023 16:31
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83946
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year