[cap-talk] Wall banging (was: Bellizzomi, Capabilities, Shapiro's focus, Coyotos, etc.)

Matej Kosik kosik at fiit.stuba.sk
Thu Nov 30 04:37:32 CST 2006

Hi all,

Mark S. Miller wrote:
> Jed at Webstart wrote:
>> I had imagined that the concern about wall listening was mainly
>> for cases where the program was a black box (e.g. proprietary code).
>> Once you get to the point of auditing source code it seems to me that
>> the costs are so high and the means of control so good that worrying
>> about non deterministic inputs is likely a small part of the problem.
> In E, no auditing of source code is necessary to enforce determinism, and so 
> it can be enforced on black boxes. The safe scope, containing the caps 
> universally provided by convention, contain no caps that would enable a 
> program to escape determinism. Unless a program is provided a cap that enables 
> non-determinism, it cannot be non-deterministic.

Do you say that the following statement is true?

  "let vat1, vat2, vat3, ... , vatN be deterministic vats
   then system of these vats is also deterministc."

If it were true, that would be great, however if I understand the
semantics of E correctly, it is not. Here is a trivial counter example:

Let there be four objects: objectA, objectB, objectC and objectD each of
them placed in a distinct vat with the following behavior:

  # objectA is in vatA
  def objectA() {
    objectB <- ()
    objectC <- ()
  # objectB is in vatB
  def objectB() {
    objectD <- add("B")
  # objectC is in vatC
  def objectC() {
    objectD <- add("C")
  # objectD is in vatD
  def fifo := makeFifo()
  def objectD() {
    to add(s) {
      # add a given string `s' at the end of the FIFO queue
    to first() {
      # return the first element of the queue
    to second() {
      # return the second element of the queue

Interconnected as shown in the attached figure `abcd.png'
The system of vats above might end up in two distinct states:
  S' and S''.

In one, when we request objectD the first element of the FIFO queue, it
will say "A". In the other, it will say "B".
In other words:

- vatA' is weakly deterministic
- vatB is weakly deterministic
- vatC is weakly deterministic
- vatD is weakly deterministic
(none of the vats is provided capabilities to non-deterministic
- unfortunatelly, their composition
    S = vatA | vatB | vatC | vatD
  is not weakly deterministic because
  - S has two descendands S' and S'' such that
    S => S'
    S => S''
    and they are not weakly bisimilar

- weak determinism
- descendant
I mean those terms as defined in
the particular system vatA | vatB | vatC | vatD could be modelled in CCS
calculus (even though not all things which can be expressed in E (namely
mobility) can be captured by CCS).

If I am wrong, I would be glad to be corrected.

Matej Kosik
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