This paper deals with state spaces. A state space is a directed graph with a node for each reachable state and an arc for each possible state change. We describe how symmetries of the modelled system can be exploited to obtain much more succinct state space analysis. The symmetries induce equivalence classes of states and equivalence classes of state changes. It is then possible to construct a condensed state space where each node represents an equivalence class of states while each arc represents an equivalence class of state changes. Such a condensed state space is often much smaller than the full state space and it is also much faster to construct. Nevertheless, it is possible to use the condensed state space to verify the same kind of behavioural properties as the full state space. Hence, we do not lose analytic power. We define state spaces and condensed state spaces for a language called Coloured Petri Nets (CP-nets). This language is in widespread use for the modelling and analysis of concurrent systems. However, our techniques are general and they can be used for many other kinds of labelled transition systems. The paper does not assume that the reader is familiar with CP-nets (or Petri nets in general) - although such knowledge will, of course, be a help. The first four sections of the paper introduce the basic concepts of CP-nets. The next three sections deal with state spaces, condensed state spaces and computer tools for state space analysis. Finally, there is a short conclusion.
Formal Methods in System Design, 1996, Vol 9, Issue 1/2, p. 7-40