Modeling and analyzing mobile ad hoc networks in Real-Time Maude

Si Liu, Peter Csaba Ölveczky, José Meseguer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Modeling and analyzing mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) pose non-trivial challenges to formal methods. Time, geometry, communication delays and failures, mobility, and uni- and bidirectional wireless communication can interact in unforeseen ways that are hard to model and analyze by current process calculi and automatic formal methods. As a consequence, current analyses tend to abstract away these physical aspects, so that - although still quite useful in finding various errors - their simplifying assumptions can easily fail to model details of MANET behavior relevant to meet desired requirements. In this work we present a formal framework for the modeling and analysis of MANETS based on Real-Time Maude to address this challenge. Specifically, we show that our framework has good expressive power to model relevant aspects of MANETs, and good compositionality properties, so that a MANET protocol can be easily composed with various models of mobility and with other MANET protocols. We illustrate the use of our framework on two well-known MANET benchmarks: the AODV routing protocol and the leader election protocol of Vasudevan, Kurose, and Towsley. Our formal analysis has uncovered a spurious behavior in the latter protocol that is due to the subtle interplay between communication delays, node movement, and neighbor discovery. This behavior therefore cannot be found by analyses that abstract from node movement and communication delays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-66
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Logical and Algebraic Methods in Programming
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016


  • Formal specification
  • Mobile ad hoc networks
  • Model checking
  • Real-Time Maude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Software
  • Logic
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

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