A Practical Theory of Reactive Systems: Incremental Modeling of Dynamic Behaviors

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A man may imagine he understands something, but still not understand anything in the way that he ought to. (Paul of Tarsus, 1 Corinthians 8:2) Calling this a `practical theory' may require some explanation. Theory and practice are often thought of as two di?erent worlds, governed bydi?erentideals,principles, andlaws.DavidLorgeParnas, forinstance,who hascontributedmuchtoourtheoreticalunderstandingofsoftwareengineering and also to sound use of theory in the practice of it, likes to point out that `theoretically' is synonymous to `not really'. In applied mathematics the goal is to discover useful connections between these two worlds. My thesis is that in software engineering this two-world view is inadequate, and a more intimate interplay is required between theory and practice. That is, both theoretical and practical components should be integrated into a practical theory. It should beclearfrom theabovethattheintended readership of this book is not theoreticians. They would probably have di?culties in appreciating a book on theory where the presentation does not proceed in a logical sequence from basic de?nitions to theorems and mathematical proofs, followed by - plication examples. In fact, all this would not constitute what I understand by a practical theory in this context.