Pure bigraphs: Structure and dynamics

Robin Milner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bigraphs are graphs whose nodes may be nested, representing locality, independently of the edges connecting them. They may be equipped with reaction rules, forming a bigraphical reactive system (Brs) in which bigraphs can reconfigure themselves. Following an earlier paper describing link graphs, a constituent of bigraphs, this paper is a devoted to pure bigraphs, which in turn underlie various more refined forms. Elsewhere it is shown that behavioural analysis for Petri nets, π-calculus and mobile ambients can all be recovered in the uniform framework of bigraphs. The paper first develops the dynamic theory of an abstract structure, a wide reactive system (Wrs), of which a Brs is an instance. In this context, labelled transitions are defined in such a way that the induced bisimilarity is a congruence. This work is then specialised to Brss, whose graphical structure allows many refinements of the theory. The latter part of the paper emphasizes bigraphical theory that is relevant to the treatment of dynamics via labelled transitions. As a running example, the theory is applied to finite pure CCS, whose resulting transition system and bisimilarity are analysed in detail. The paper also mentions briefly the use of bigraphs to model pervasive computing and biological systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-122
Number of pages63
JournalInformation and Computation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

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