A Categorical Axiomatics for Bisimulation

Gian Luca Cattani
John Power
Glynn Winskel

September 1998


We give an axiomatic category theoretic account of bisimulation in process algebras based on the idea of functional bisimulations as open maps. We work with 2-monads, T, on Cat. Operations on processes, such as nondeterministic sum, prefixing and parallel composition are modelled using functors in the Kleisli category for the 2-monad T. We may define the notion of open map for any such 2-monad; in examples of interest, that agrees exactly with the usual notion of functional bisimulation. Under a condition on T, namely that it be a dense KZ-monad, which we define, it follows that functors in Kl(T) preserve open maps, i.e., they respect functional bisimulation. We further investigate structures on Kl(T) that exist for axiomatic reasons, primarily because T is a dense KZ-monad, and we study how those structures help to model operations on processes. We outline how this analysis gives ideas for modelling higher order processes. We conclude by making comparison with the use of presheaves and profunctors to model process calculi

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