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Concurrency and Causality


Admission requirements

BSc Computer Science or Mathematics


Understanding the causal relations between the events of a concurrent run of a distributed system is crucial for reasoning about its behaviour. First, the partial order semantics of Elementary Net systems, a fundamental model of concurrent systems, is discussed. Next, together with the participants, we move to extended net systems and relational structures obtained from sets of step sequences that are not partial orders. We study, in the form of a seminar, the general order structures that can capture any concurrent history consisting of labelled structures underlying the step sequences that form the observations of a run. Students present (existing) results from scientific research and write an essay (in LaTeX) explaining their lectures.

The first part of the course uses lecture notes. The second part relies mostly on published research.
It is recommended that students have knowledge of and are interested in theory of concurrency, formal language theory, and discrete mathematics.

Course objectives

Students should learn to read, understand, discuss, and disseminate (in written and oral form) scientific papers.


Time and date on which the course is offered or a link to the website. The administration will complete this with the link to the website.

Mode of instruction

Self study/lectures/consultation

Assessment method

Active participation 20%
Assignments and Presentations (oral/written reports and essays) 80%
No retakes possible

Reading list

Will be announced during the course.


Students have to sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis. Check this link for more information and activity codes.



Please note that this course description is preliminary. The final course description will be released during the fall semester 2020.