Selective Monitoring

Authors Radu Grigore , Stefan Kiefer

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Radu Grigore
  • University of Kent, UK
Stefan Kiefer
  • University of Oxford, UK

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Radu Grigore and Stefan Kiefer. Selective Monitoring. In 29th International Conference on Concurrency Theory (CONCUR 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 118, pp. 20:1-20:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


We study selective monitors for labelled Markov chains. Monitors observe the outputs that are generated by a Markov chain during its run, with the goal of identifying runs as correct or faulty. A monitor is selective if it skips observations in order to reduce monitoring overhead. We are interested in monitors that minimize the expected number of observations. We establish an undecidability result for selectively monitoring general Markov chains. On the other hand, we show for non-hidden Markov chains (where any output identifies the state the Markov chain is in) that simple optimal monitors exist and can be computed efficiently, based on DFA language equivalence. These monitors do not depend on the precise transition probabilities in the Markov chain. We report on experiments where we compute these monitors for several open-source Java projects.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Randomness, geometry and discrete structures
  • runtime monitoring
  • probabilistic systems
  • Markov chains
  • automata
  • language equivalence


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