Modelling & Verification 2008

Welcome to the home-page for the course 'Modelling & Verification 2008' for Master students at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Camerino.

The aim of this course is to introduce advanced mathematical models for the formal description and analysis of programs, with emphasis on parallel, reactive systems. The course consists of about N lectures for some yet to be determined N > 0. It deals with semantic models for parallel systems, and logics for the description of their properties. As part and parcel of the course material, we also introduce automatic verification tools, and may hint at some of the implementation techniques underlying them.

The teaching consists of lectures interspersed with exercise sessions, a mini-project and self-study. I encourage you to work in groups and discuss the course material amongst yourselves.

The course also has a blog. Note that some form of contribution to the blog is expected from each of you. For instance, you might want to post comments on the material covered in a lecture, solutions to some exercises, questions to the other students on the material covered in the course, as well as to discuss articles you have read or potential connections with other areas in computer science that interest you.

The lectures take place in rooms AB2 (Mondays, 15:00-17:00) and AB3 (Wednesdays 09:00-11:00). For the details on each lecture, please consult the course overview. Room AB2 is reserved for exercise sessions on Tuesdays from 15:00 till 18:00.

Exercise Sessions and Advice on Modus Operandi

Each week there will have an associated exercise "class" on Tuesday. I encourage you to work on the exercises in groups of two or three, and to discuss your solutions to them amongst yourselves. If you can explain the solutions to one another, then you really understand what is going on, and you will realize where there are gaps in your mastering of the course material. Should you get really stuck (see below), feel free to come and talk to any of the teaching assistants for the course or to me. Alternatively, you can send me an email with your questions, which I shall answer as soon as possible. Try to formulate your answers in writing before you come to see any of the teaching assistants, as this will help you clarify what the problems are.

The exercises will mostly be "pen and paper" ones, but I'll also suggest exercises or small projects involving the use of software tools. All the exercises will be "doable", and working them out will greatly increase your understanding of the topics covered in the course. The best advice I can give you is to spend some time on working them all out by yourselves, and to make sure you understand the solutions if the other members of your group (or the teaching assistants) give you the solutions on a golden plate. Above all, don't give up if you cannot find the key to the solutions right away. Problem solving is often a matter of mental stamina as much as creativity.

For further advice on how to learn the material covered in this course (and, in fact, the material in any course) I strongly recommend that you look at the slides for the talk Psychologists' tips on how and how not to learn by Wilfrid Hodges. In particular, try to reflect upon the hints he gives, and ask yourselves how much you practice what he preaches. You might also wish to read How to Read Mathematics by Shai Simonson and Fernando Gouveau --- a collection of useful, down-to-earth tips on how to read, and learn from, mathematical texts.

These pages are currently maintained by Luca Aceto. They will be actively modified in October and November 2008, and are currently undergoing heavy restructuring. You are invited to check them regularly during the spring term. The pages are dormant at other times. Let me know of any error you find on the course web pages.