Improving the Quality of Protocol Standards

This project has been selected for funding by the NWO 'Vernieuwingsimpuls', and aims at improving the descriptions of protocols in standards that being developed through the use of formal methods.

Observing the recent improvements in formal methods and tools, the necessity of taking on truly large case studies for further progress, the current range of candidate protocol standards, and the advantages to cooperation with standardisation committees, it is clear that the time is right to reach out to the industrial standardisation communities, while on the one hand building on the resources of formal methods and actually establishing a transfer of those methods, and on the other hand generating new theoretic challenges for the formal methods community.

The intention is to construct formal yet highly readable, well-structured presentations of large, critical parts of protocol standards, while these are being developed, and to evaluate the quality of these formalised parts through analysis with formal methods and tools. Iteratively, these presentations are communicated back to the standardisation community, and modified and improved further until the desired level of abstraction is reached, and the desired functionality is guaranteed.

Download the project proposal (Postscript), or take a look at a poster about our work.

This project is carried out at the TU/e, starting December 1, 2001.


Project members

Case studies

  IEEE 1394.1 FireWire
 IEEE 1394.1

From 1996 onwards, the IEEE 1394.1 Working Group has worked on the IEEE P1394.1 draft standard for Serial Bus Bridges. We have studied the Net Update protocol, that is part of this standard, extensively. To learn more about our work, we suggest you take a look at a general overview or an online paper.

  IEEE 1073.2
 IEEE 1073

The European pre-standard ENV 13735 defines network protocols for the communication of patient-related data for the treatment of the patient or for the documentation of medical procedures. This standard will be used as a basis for IEEE 1073.2. We are studying three communication protocols defined in this standard.

  Health Level Seven (HL7)

Health Level Seven (HL7) is an ANSI-accredited standards developing organization dedicated to providing a comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information. Health Level Seven develops specifications, the most widely used being a messaging standard that enables disparate healthcare applications to exchange key sets of clinical and administrative data. We are currently modelling the message exchange protocols that will be part of this standard.

Toolsets we use


We have made a separate page with an overview of our papers.