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Empirical Modelling for Concurrent Systems: an overview


Conceiving and developing a concurrent system entails assembling physical objects / agents, establishing a regime for observation and protocols for interaction. Subject to reliable operation (an assumption about the environment), we then have generic patterns of state change (behaviours) that fulfil expectations. Empirical Modelling is concerned with principles and tools that can be used to identify and construct concurrent systems.

Deconstructing a concurrent system involves accounting for system behaviours by identifying agents / objects and the observables that mediate their interaction (cf. an LSD account). This deconstruction typically draws on a vast amount of experience: personal, of natural phenomena, of social interaction. The issues raised concern knowledge that migrates in many different ways: from subjective to objective, particular to general, provisional to assured.

The knowledge representation entailed in this deconstruction cannot be propositional in character. Formal specification of intended system behaviour and/or system components - by itself - has only a very limited role to play. Empirical Modelling advocates knowledge representation based on the open and interactive development and use of (typically computer-based) artefacts. The principles and techniques involved in this development resemble those of experimental science and engineering. In Empirical Modelling, interaction with computer-based artefacts is used to generate experiences that metaphorically represent other experiences of our own, and the "experiences" we project on to other agents in an LSD account.