Distributed Computing
ETH Zurich

Discrete Event Systems (WS 2006/07)

Over the past few decades the rapid evolution of computing, communication, and information technologies has brought about the proliferation of new dynamic systems. A significant part of activity in these systems is governed by operational rules designed by humans. The dynamics of these systems are characterized by asynchronous occurrences of discrete events, some controlled (e.g. hitting a keyboard key, sending a message), some not (e.g. spontaneous failure, packet loss).

The mathematical arsenal centered around differential equations that has been employed in systems engineering to model and study processes governed by the laws of nature is often inadequate or inappropriate for discrete event systems. The challenge is to develop new modeling frameworks, analysis techniques, design tools, testing methods, and optimization processes for this new generation of systems.

In this lecture we give an introduction to discrete event systems. We start out the course by studying popular models of discrete event systems, such as automata and Petri nets. In the second part of the course we analyze discrete event systems. We first examine discrete event systems from an average-case perspective: we model discrete events as stochastic processes, and then apply Markov chains and queuing theory for an understanding of the typical behavior of a system. In the last part of the course we analyze discrete event systems from a worst-case perspective using the theory of online algorithms and adversarial queuing.

Course language: German

Lecture by Christoph Stamm Thursday 13.15-15.00 @ ETF E1.

Exercises by Stefan Schmid and Roland Flury, Thursday 15.15-17.00 @ ETF E1.


The final exam takes place on Wednesday, 21. February 2007, 9:00 - 12:00, at ETA F5

There will be a question session on Friday, 16. February 2007, 15:00 - 16:00, at ETZ F76.1.
Please send us your questions until Thursday, 15. February 2007, 15:00 by email.

Lecture material

Title Slides Additional Material References

Chapter 0
PDF 1:1
PDF 4:1

Chapter 1
Automata and Languages
PDF 1:1
PDF 4:1
Page 1/70 with solution

Chapter 2
Smarter Automata
PDF 1:1
PDF 4:1

Chapter 3
Specification Models
PDF 1:1
PDF 4:1

Chapter 4
Stochastic Discrete Event Systems
PDF 1:1
PDF 4:1

Chapter 5
Worst Case Event Systems
PDF 1:1
PDF 4:1

Exercise material

Title Exercise Sample Solution

Exercise 1
Assigned: 26/10/2006
Due: 9/11/2006
Download Download

Exercise 2
Assigned: 9/11/2006
Due: 16/11/2006
Download Download

Exercise 3
Assigned: 16/11/2006
Due: 23/11/2006
Download Download

Exercise 4
Assigned: 23/11/2006
Due: 30/11/2006
Download Download Please have a look at the
Exorciser software for
more exercises.

Exercise 5
Assigned: 30/11/2006
Due: 7/12/2006
Download Download

Exercise 6
Assigned: 7/12/2006
Due: 14/12/2006
Download Download

Exercise 7
Assigned: 14/12/2006
Due: 21/12/2006
Download Download

Exercise 8
Assigned: 21/12/2006
Due: 4/1/2007
Download Download

Exercise 9
Assigned: 4/1/2007
Due: 11/1/2007
Download Download

Exercise 10
Assigned: 11/1/2007
Due: 18/1/2007
Download Download

Exercise 11
Assigned: 18/1/2007
Due: 25/1/2007
Download Download

Exercise 12
Assigned: 25/1/2007
Due: 1/2/2007
Download Download


You do not need a Testat to attend the final exam. However, if you need a Testat, e.g. because you don't intend to take the final exam, but need an attestation that you attended the class, you need to hand in at least 80% of the exercises.


[exorciser] Exorciser - Interaktive Lernsoftware für theoretische Informatik
[bertsekas] Data Networks
Dimitri Bersekas, Robert Gallager
Prentice Hall, 1991, ISBN: 0132009161
[borodin] Online Computation and Competitive Analysis
Allan Borodin, Ran El-Yaniv.
Cambridge University Press, 1998
[boudec] Network Calculus
J.-Y. Le Boudec, P. Thiran
Springer, 2001
[cassandras] Introduction to Discrete Event Systems
Christos Cassandras,Stéphane Lafortune.
Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999, ISBN 0-7923-8609-4
[fiat] Online Algorithms: The State of the Art
A. Fiat and G. Woeginger
[hochbaum] Approximation Algorithms for NP-hard Problems (Chapter 13 by S. Irani, A. Karlin)
D. Hochbaum
[murata] Petri Nets: Properties, Analysis and Applications
Tadao Murata
Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 99, issue 4, April 1989. pp. 541--580
[schickinger] Diskrete Strukturen (Band 2: Wahrscheinlichkeitstheorie und Statistik)
T. Schickinger, A. Steger
Springer, Berlin, 2001
[sipser] Introduction to the Theory of Computation
Michael Sipser.
PWS Publishing Company, 1996, ISBN 053494728X