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Specification and Analysis of Resource Utilization Policies for Human-Intensive Systems

Contemporary systems often require the effective support of many types of resources, each governed by complex utilization policies. Sound management of these resources plays a key role in assuring that these systems achieve their key goals. To help system developers make sound resource management decisions, I provide a resource utilization policy specification and analysis framework for (1) specifying very diverse kinds of resources and their potentially complex resource utilization policies, (2) dynamically evaluating the policies’ effects on the outcomes achieved by systems utilizing the resources, and (3) formally verifying various kinds of properties of these systems. Resource utilization policies range from simple, e.g., first-in-first-out, to extremely complex, responding to changes in system environment, state, and stimuli. Further, policies may at times conflict with each other, requiring conflict resolution strategies that add extra complexity. Prior specification approaches rely on relatively simple resource models that prevent the specification of complex utilization and conflict resolution policies. My approach (1) separates resource utilization policy concerns from resource characteristic and request specifications, (2) creates an expressive specification notation for constraint policies, and (3) creates a resource constraint conflict resolution capability. My approach enables creating specifications of policies that are sufficiently precise and detailed to support static and dynamic analyses of how these policies affect the properties of systems constrained or governed by these policies. I provide a process- and resource-aware discrete-event simulator for simulating system executions that adhere to policies of resource utilization. The simulator integrates the existing JSim simulation engine with a separate resource management system. The separate architectural component makes it easy to keep track of resource utilization traces during a simulation run. My simulation framework facilitates considerable flexibility in the evaluation of diverse resource management decisions and powerful dynamic analyses. Dynamic verification through simulation is inherently limited because of the impossibility of exhaustive simulation of all scenarios. I complement this approach with static verification. Prior static resource analysis has supported the verification only of relatively simple resource utilization policies. My research utilizes powerful model checking techniques, building on the existing FLAVERS model checking tool, to verify properties of complex systems that are also verified to conform to complex resource utilization policies. My research demonstrates how to use systems such as FLAVERS to verify adherence to complex resource utilization policies as well as overall system properties, such as the absence of resource leak and resource deadlock. I evaluated my approach working with a hospital emergency department domain expert, using detailed, expert-developed models of the processes and resource utilization policies of an emergency department. In doing this, my research demonstrates how my framework can be effective in guiding the domain expert towards making sound decisions about policies for the management of hospital resources, while also providing rigorously-based assurances that the guidance is reliable and well-founded. My research makes the following contributions: (1) a specification language for resources and resource utilization policies for human-intensive systems, (2) a process- and resource-aware discrete-event simulation engine that creates simulations that adhere to the resource utilization policies, allowing for the dynamic evaluation of resource utilization policies, (3) a process- and resource-aware model checking technique that formally verifies system properties and adherence to resource utilization policies, and (4) validated and verified specifications of an emergency department healthcare system, demonstrating the utility of my approach.
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