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S4: Empirical Modelling for Concurrent Systems

Empirical Modelling for Concurrent Systems was one of the modules taught on the Parallel Computers and Computation MSc course offered by Computer Science at Warwick from 1992-3 to 1998-9. The module was run as an intensive five day activity from Monday to Friday. The generic format for the seven editions of the module was established in the first year, but the actual content evolved over subsequent years. The principal organisers and lecturers on the module were Meurig Beynon and Steve Russ, and significant technical input was supplied by Simon Yung, then a postdoc. Other contributors included Paul Ness, who was himself a student on the first year the module was delivered, Richard Cartwright, Patrick Sun and Dominic Gehring. Ian Bridge also supplied motivating material prior to the module. The module provided feedback that has informed the research in the Empirical Modelling project ever since, and also led both directly and indirectly to the recruitment of several graduate students who went on to study for doctorates in the EM group, of whom Paul Ness, Ashley Ward and Chris Roe were the first.

The overall format of the module is illustrated in the resources compiled by Pui Shan-Chan (a postdoctoral researcher on the EPSRC-funded AMORE project -- cf. EM paper #071) in 1997, when the module was delivered for the penultimate time. These resources are linked to a sketchy timetable for the module: this was the first time that EM resources had been presented online, and in practice much relevant material existed only in hard copy form or relied on models developed using the tkeden environment. In due course, thanks primarily to the efforts of Ashley Ward, documentation and tkeden models was made available via an online archive (cf. the EM project archive). These resources were then assimilated into the CS405 Introduction to Empirical Modelling MSc module that was taught between 2005 to 2014, for which S4 provided core material. The core lectures on the theme of 'commonsense concurrency' were compiled into CS405 resources that were last revised in 2008-9. The LSD examples discussed in S4 also featured prominently in CS405. The list of resources advertised to 3rd year project students in 2000-2001 gives an indication of how much the S4 module contributed to the available EM resources overall.

Other software-related modules complementing S4 are mentioned in WMB's overview for students joining the MSc course in October 1993

Some context for other components of the MSc course was provided by Bill McColl in December 1992