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This paper attempts to lend perspective to several different methods that have been employed for specifying computer communication protocols by comparing a spectrum of specification techniques. The paper characterizes specification languages such as state transition diagrams, variants of temporal logic approaches, and sequence expressions by the extent to Which information is encoded as properties of a single state versus properties of a history of the entire computation state sequence. Taking the prototypical alternating bit protocol as an example, each method is used to specify the requirements for the send process of the distributed system.
Date of Publication: Dec 1982