Document Type

Technical Report


Computer Science and Engineering

Publication Date






Technical Report Number



The Programmer's Playground takes a new approach to simplifying and supporting the construction of distributed applications. The approach, called I/O abstraction, separates the description of a system's communication structure from the descriptions of its computational components so that software modules written in existing programming languages cna be integrated flexibly and dynamically by both programmers and end-users. This separation is achieved by estabishing logical connectinos among the data interfaces of independent software modules. The logical connections provide a uniform high-level view of communication for both discrete and continuous data. The I/O abstraction approach inherits ideas from the I/O automaton model, a formal model of distributed computing that provides compositionality properties and supports behavioral specifications of system modules. Implications of I/O abstraction for process migration and the ordering of events in a distributed system will be studied. Software supporting the I/O abstraction programming model will be constructed. A high speed ATM network developed at Washington University will be used as a testbed for the devlopment work. The availability of this campus network offers an unusual opportunity to construct novel distributed (multimedia) applications and to test our ideas in realistic settings. The connection management network protocol (CMNP), the underlying protocol for the ATM networks, will be formally studied by giving a formal specification.


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