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Most prior work on supervisory control of discrete event systems is for achieving deterministic specifications, expressed as formal languages. In this paper we study supervisory control for achieving nondeterministic specifications. Such specifications are useful when designing a system at a higher level of abstraction so that lower level details of system and its specification are omitted to obtain higher level models that may be nondeterministic. Nondeterministic specifications are also meaningful when the system to be controlled has a nondeterministic model due to the lack of information (caused for example by partial observation or unmodeled dynamics). Language equivalence is not an adequate notion of behavioral equivalence for nondeterministic systems, and instead we use the finest known notion of equivalence, namely the bisimulation equivalence. Choice of bisimulation equivalence is also supported by the fact that bisimulation equivalence specification is equivalent to a specification in the temporal logic of μ-calculus that subsumes the complete branching-time logic CTL*. Given nondeterministic models of system and its specification, we study the design of a supervisor (possibly nondeterministic) such that the controlled system is bisimilar to the specification. We obtain a small model theorem showing that a supervisor exists if and only if it exists over a certain finite state space, namely the power set of Cartesian product of system and specification state spaces. Also, the notion of state-controllability is introduced as part of a necessary and sufficient condition for the existence of a supervisor. In the special case of deterministic systems, we provide an existence condition that can be verified polynomially in both system and specification states, when the existence condition holds.
Date of Publication: May 2006