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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An obscure book which is worth reading if you must learn CCS, 20 Nov 2000
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This review is from: Communication and Concurrency (Prentice Hall International Series in Computer Science) (Paperback)
If you do not have a background in theoretical computer science or if you are not familiar with 'concurrency' then this is not the book for you. The worst thing is that, even if you are an active student of computer engineering or computer science you may still find that this book is almost obscure and requires unfailing attention. Many topics require repeated reading and focused mind to understand and keep track of all the processes (or agents) in action. The book outside these shortcomings is probably one of the best available text in Calculus for Concurrent Systems. It is concise and comes with lots of rules that have been identified well. The author has made the task of the reader a little easier by tabulating all the symbols( around 80) in the glossary. There are lots of diagrams and explained examples which enhance the understanding of the processes and various issues relating to 'equivalence'. A good buy if you must read Calculus for Concurrent Systems.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The must-have book for Concurrency Theorists, 27 May 2007
This review is from: Communication and Concurrency (Prentice Hall International Series in Computer Science) (Paperback)
Concurrency theory is all about systems that involve lots of components talking together and coordinating their actions according to local rules - and this is the "must-have" book that explains how we can represent these ideas mathematically using a language called CCS, and then use that maths to reason about concurrent systems, whether it be traffic on the roads, social insect colonies, or NASA's proposed "satellite swarms".

For example, we could model the behaviour of individual car drivers in CCS by reflecting the way they navigate through road junctions. Each driver is an individual component of the wider system we call "traffic", and though we make decisions without referrring to each others' concerns, each driver nonetheless influences those around him; you can't get through a junction if the guy in front is still in the way - so your own behaviour depends on his. Milner's CCS and its variants let you model these interactions, and let you reason about individual city traffic schemes; given a good enough model, you can even work out whether your own city is laid out in such a way that it allows gridlock to occur, or whether it's gridlock-free.

Make no mistake - this book is advanced. But undergraduates in mathematics or computer science should have no trouble following it. On the other hand, Milner's work has moved on a long way since he wrote this book, and modern researchers tend to look to his later (and even more advanced) work on the "pi-calculus", looking at how we can model mobility as well as concurrency. But a thorough grounding in CCS remains vital to understanding pi-calculus, and this is the book to provide it.
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