interpreter contains an
Interpreter class that
interprets a statechart mainly following the SCXML 1.0 semantics.
In particular, eventless transitions are processed before transitions containing events, internal events are consumed
before external events, and the simulation follows a inner-first/source-state and run-to-completion semantics.
The main difference between SCXML and Sismic’s default interpreter resides in how multiple transitions can be triggered simultaneously. This may occur for transitions in orthogonal/parallel states, or when transitions declaring the same event have guards that are not mutually exclusive.
Simulating the simultaneous triggering of multiple transitions is problematic, since it implies to make a non-deterministic choice on the order in which the transitions must be processed, and on the order in which the source states must the exited and the target states must be entered. The UML 2.5 specification explicitly leaves this issue unresolved, thereby delegating the decision to tool developers:
“Due to the presence of orthogonal Regions, it is possible that multiple Transitions (in different Regions) can be triggered by the same Event occurrence. The order in which these Transitions are executed is left undefined.” — UML 2.5 Specification
The SCXML specification addresses the issue by using the document order (i.e., the order in which the transitions appear in the SCXML file) as the order in which (non-parallel) transitions should be processed.
“If multiple matching transitions are present, take the first in document order.” — SCXML Specification
From our point of view, this solution is not satisfactory. The execution should not depend on the (often arbitrary) order in which items happen to be declared in some document, in particular when there many be many different ways to construct or import a statechart.
Other statechart tools do not even define any order on the transitions in such situations:
“Rhapsody detects such cases of nondeterminism during code generation and does not allow them. The motivation for this is that the generated code is intended to serve as a final implementation and for most embedded software systems such nondeterminism is not acceptable.” — The Rhapsody Semantics of Statecharts
We decide to follow Rhapsody and to raise an error (in fact, a
NonDeterminismError) if such cases of
nondeterminism occur during the execution. Notice that this only concerns multiple transitions in the same
composite state, not in parallel states.
When multiple transitions are triggered from within distinct parallel states, the situation is even more intricate. According to the Rhapsody implementation:
“The order of firing transitions of orthogonal components is not defined, and depends on an arbitrary traversal in the implementation. Also, the actions on the transitions of the orthogonal components are interleaved in an arbitrary way.” — The Rhapsody Semantics of Statecharts
SCXML again circumvents this problem by using the document order.
“enabledTransitions will contain multiple transitions only if a parallel state is active. In that case, we may have one transition selected for each of its children. [...] If multiple states are active (i.e., we are in a parallel region), then there may be multiple transitions, one per active atomic state (though some states may not select a transition.) In this case, the transitions are taken in the document order of the atomic states that selected them.” — SCXML Specification
Again, Sismic does not agree with SCXML on this, and instead defines that multiple orthogonal/parallel transitions should be processed in a decreasing source state depth order. This is perfectly coherent with our aforementioned inner-first/source-state semantics, as “deeper” transitions are processed before “less nested” ones. In case of ties, the lexicographic order of the source state names will prevail.
Note that in an ideal world, orthogonal/parallel regions should be independent, implying that in principle such situations should not arise (“the designer does not rely on any particular order for event instances to be dispatched to the relevant orthogonal regions”, UML specification). In practice, however, it is often desirable to allow such situations.
Interpreter instance is constructed upon a
instance and an optional callable that returns an
This callable must accept an interpreter and an initial execution context as input (see Include code in statecharts).
If not specified, a
PythonEvaluator will be used.
This default evaluator can parse and interpret Python code in statecharts.
Consider the following example.
from sismic.interpreter import Interpreter from sismic.model import Event interpreter = Interpreter(my_statechart)
execute_once() returns information about what happened
during the execution, including the transitions that were processed, the event that was consumed and the
sequences of entered and exited states (see Macro and micro steps).
The first call to
execute_once() puts the statechart in its initial
print('Before:', interpreter.configuration) step = interpreter.execute_once() print('After:', interpreter.configuration)
Before:  After: ['active', 'floorListener', 'movingElevator', 'doorsOpen', 'floorSelecting']
One can send events to the statechart using its
interpreter.queue(Event('click')) interpreter.execute_once() # Process the event
self and thus can be chained.
We will see later that Sismic also provides a way to express scenarios, in order to avoid repeated calls to
execute_once() consumes at most one event at a time.
In this example, the second click event is not processed.
To process all events at once, repeatedly call
it returns a
None value. For instance:
while interpreter.execute_once(): pass
from sismic.model import MacroStep steps = interpreter.execute() for step in steps: assert isinstance(step, MacroStep)
Notice that a call to
execute() first computes the list and then returns
it, meaning that all the steps are already processed when the call returns.
As a call to
execute() could lead to an infinite execution
(see for example simple/infinite.yaml),
an additional parameter
max_steps can be specified to limit the number of steps that are computed
and executed by the method.
assert len(interpreter.execute(max_steps=10)) <= 10
For convenience, a
Statechart has an
that returns the list of all possible events that can be interpreted by this statechart (other events will
be consumed and ignored).
This method also accepts a state name or a list of state names to restrict the list of returned events,
and is thus commonly used to get a list of the “interesting” events:
Macro and micro steps¶
execute()) method returns
an instance of (resp. a list of)
A macro step corresponds to the process of consuming an event, regardless of the number and the type (eventless or not)
of triggered transitions. A macro step also includes every consecutive stabilization step
(i.e., the steps that are needed to enter nested states, or to switch into the configuration of a history state).
MacroStep exposes the consumed
event if any, a (possibly
and two aggregated ordered sequences of state names,
In addition, a
MacroStep exposes a list
events that were fired by the statechart during the considered step.
The order of states in those lists determines the order in which their on entry and on exit actions were processed.
As transitions are atomically processed, this means that they could exit a state in
entered_states that is entered before some state in
exited_states is exited.
The exact order in which states are exited and entered is indirectly available through the
steps attribute that is a list of all the
that were executed. Each of them contains the states that were exited and entered during its execution, and the a list
of events that were sent during the step.
Observing the execution¶
The interpreter is fully observable during its execution. It provides many public and private attributes that can be used to see what happens. In particular:
execute()) method returns an instance of (resp. a list of)
log_trace()function can be used to log all the steps that were processed during the execution of an interpreter. This methods takes an interpreter and returns a (dynamic) list of macro steps.
- The list of active states can be retrieved using
- The context of the execution is available using
context(see Include code in statecharts).
- It is possible to bind a callable that will be called each time an event is sent by the statechart using the
bindmethod of an interpreter (see Communication between statecharts).