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Established system relationships for discrete systems, such as language inclusion, simulation, and bisimulation, require system observations to be identical. When interacting with the physical world, modeled by continuous or hybrid systems, exact relationships are restrictive and not robust. In this paper, we develop the first framework of system approximation that applies to both discrete and continuous systems by developing notions of approximate language inclusion, approximate simulation, and approximate bisimulation relations. We define a hierarchy of approximation pseudo-metrics between two systems that quantify the quality of the approximation, and capture the established exact relationships as zero sections. Our approximation framework is compositional for a synchronous composition operator. Algorithms are developed for computing the proposed pseudo-metrics, both exactly and approximately. The exact algorithms require the generalization of the fixed point algorithms for computing simulation and bisimulation relations, or dually, the solution of a static game whose cost is the so-called branching distance between the systems. Approximations for the pseudo-metrics can be obtained by considering Lyapunov-like functions called simulation and bisimulation functions. We illustrate our approximation framework in reducing the complexity of safety verification problems for both deterministic and nondeterministic continuous systems.
abstraction, approximation, bisimulation, metrics, transition systems
Date Posted: 21 August 2007
This document has been peer reviewed.