A theory of timed automata. (English) Zbl 0803.68071

Summary: We propose timed (finite) automata to model the behavior of real-time systems over time. Our definition provides a simple, and yet powerful, way to annotate state-transition with timing constraints using finitely many real-valued clocks. A timed automaton accepts timed words – infinite sequences in which a real-valued time for occurrence is associated with each symbol. We study timed automata from the perspective of formal language theory: we consider closure properties, decision problems, and subclasses. We consider both nondeterministic and deterministic transition structures, and both Büchi and Muller acceptance conditions. We show that nondeterministic timed automata are closed under union and intersection, but not under complementation, whereas deterministic timed Muller automata are closed under all Boolean operations. The main construction of the paper is an (PSPACE) algorithm for checking the emptiness of the language of a (nondeterministic) timed automaton. We also prove that the universality problem and the language inclusion problem are solvable only for the deterministic automata: both problems are undecidable (\(\Pi^ 1_ 1\)-hard) in the nondeterministic case and PSPACE-complete in the deterministic case. Finally, we discuss the application of this theory to automatic verification of real-time requirements of finite-state systems.


68Q45 Formal languages and automata
68Q60 Specification and verification (program logics, model checking, etc.)
68Q55 Semantics in the theory of computing
Full Text: DOI


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