Models of Computation in the Cubicon Medium

Sanford Klausner
Cubicon, Inc.

Thursday, May 8th, 1997
Hogan Room, 531 Cory Hall
5:00-6:00 p.m.


Heterogeneous design, by combining small, specialized patterns of computation, achieves generality and also lends itself to automatic synthesis, formal verification, and component reuse. Key to heterogeneous design is to define interaction semantics that resolve the ambiguities when different models of computation are brought together. The Cubicon medium provides a "unified" approach which supports multiple Models of Computation (MoC) providing a consistent syntax and semantics for specification of a complete system. Unifying the imperative, dataflow, finite-state machine, discrete event, and reactive models provides the ability to effectively implement emerging complex hardware and software systems.

The architecture of the Cubicon medium is based upon a "divide-and-conquer" strategy utilizing an 'object-composed" model of decomposition cast into a relentlessly visual paradigm. This model represents multiple MoC as small, simple, specialized metaengines which are totally syntactically-driven and semantically bound. These dynamic "mental tinkertoys" fully understand the fundamental nature of language expression and the rules of interaction between themselves. The expression of the medium off loads from the purely textual representations to the graphics and color dimensions in many interesting ways. Accordingly, there is a one-for-one mirroring between the textual/graphic/color syntax and the underlying semantic model of the medium. Language icons live in a rich dynamic multimedia environment which provides multiple relationship perspectives between the collaborating intellectual property components.

This sophisticated architecture provides the foundation to precisely express the relationships between multiple MoC without becoming unwieldy. The resulting formalism is fully constrained and provides a framework within which the semantics of the interaction between MoCs can be visually understood and practically utilized by the masses. Thus, generality is achieved through visual object-composed heterogeneity.

The inventor of Cubicon, Sandy Klausner will provide a review of the technology by demonstrating a domain example expressed in the Cubicon Environment. The example will consist of a digital wristwatch modeled closely to the one implemented by Gerard Berry, the developer of Esterel. This example is particularly interesting because of its non-trivial modularity and its relative complexity. This example extensively utilizes the reactive MoC.

Visit for background on the Cubicon Project.