Achieving the appropriate performance requirements for computer-communication systems is as important as the correctness of the end-result. This is particularly difficult in the case of massively parallel computer systems such as the clusters of PCs behind the likes of Google and peer-to-peer filesharing networks such as Bittorrent. Measuring the performance of such systems using a mathematical model is invariably computationally intensive. Formal modelling techniques make possible the derivation of such performance measures but currently suffer from the state-space explosion problem, that is, models become intractably large even for systems of apparently modest complexity. This work develops a novel class of techniques aimed at addressing this problem by approximating a representation of massive state spaces as more computationally-tractable real variables (fluid-flow analysis).
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