[langsec-discuss] Parallel Systems/Automata

Fabian Fäßler fabi at fabif.de
Tue Jun 18 08:31:25 UTC 2013


I am currently working in a network development environment and I described to my supervisor the LANGSEC view. He was quite excited and interested about the concept of shotgun parser, weird machines and in general the view on untrusted input as a formal language. But then he told me that in the networking environment you have to think in parallel and the LANGSEC idea is probably very different in such an environment. He was talking about the Switches and Routers, which have dozens of cables to process packets in parallel (forwarding, rerouting or setting up internal databases). So basically you have independent automata interacting with each other through messages. I naively thought that those devices can be simplified viewed as "an abstract overlaid automata" where you can have the input packets A and B as either coming after each other ("AB", "BA") or in parallel which can be represented as a new symbol C (A and B arriving in parallel).

Formal Languages and automata theory was only a little bit covered in my university, so I made a quick google search for "parallel automata" and it revealed a lot of university resources. I want to look into those, but in the meantime I wanted to start this discussion here to see, what you all think about parallel automata and the LANGSEC view on it.

kind regards,

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