The Formal Semantics of SDL-2000 - Status and Perspectives

U. Glässer, R. Gotzhein, A. Prinz

Computer Networks (Elsevier), Vol. 42, No. 3, 2003, pp. 343-358


In November 1999, the current version of SDL (Specification and Description Language), commonly referred to as SDL-2000, has passed ITU-T. In November 2000, the formal semantics of SDL-2000 has officially been approved to become part of the SDL language definition. It covers both the static and the dynamic semantics, and is based on the formalism of Abstract State Machines (ASMs). To support executability, the formal semantics defines, for each SDL specification, reference ASM code, which enables an SDL-to-ASM-compiler. In this paper, we briefly survey and compare existing approaches to define the semantics of SDL formally. The ITU-T approach will then be outlined in more detail, addressing the following steps: (1) mapping of non-basic language constructs to the core language, (2) checking of static semantics conditions, (3) definition of the SDL Abstract Machine (SAM), and (4) definition of the SDL Virtual Machine (SVM). Furthermore, experiences from the SDL-to-ASM-compiler project are presented. It is expected that the SDL-2000 semantics can be adapted and extended to formally define the meaning of UML 2.0 class, architecture, and statechart diagrams.


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