Department of Computer Science


Below you can find a list of notations developed in the context of the RoboStar research projects, namely RoboChart and RoboSim.


RoboChart is a notation for the design of robotic systems. It is akin to informal notations in current use, but it is precise and specialised to enable automated reasoning, catering for proof of functional properties that can be specified as a refinement check, including, deadlock, livelock, and timelock freedom, for instance. Moreover, RoboChart enforces design patterns appropriate for robotics, where the physical robot is explicitly modelled in terms of only its variables, events, and operations. RoboChart also supports the definition of a dedicated library of components to aid the development of robotic applications.


The RoboChart reference manual is the main reference for the RoboChart notation. Tool support for modelling and analysis is provided via RoboTool.



[1] A. Miyazawa, A. Cavalcanti, P. Ribeiro, W. Li, J. Woodcock, J. Timmis: RoboChart Reference Manual. University of York (2016).

[2] A. Miyazawa, P. Ribeiro, L. Wei, A. L. C. Cavalcanti, J. Timmis, J. C. P. Woodcock: RoboChart: modelling and verification of the functional behaviour of robotic applications. Software & Systems Modeling. 18, 3097–3149 (2019).

[3] A. Miyazawa, P. Ribeiro, W. Li, A. L. C. Cavalcanti, J. Timmis: Automatic Property Checking of Robotic Applications. In: The International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. pp. 3869–3876 (2017).

RoboSim: control software modelling

RoboSim is a tool-independent language to model simulations of robotic systems by state machines combined to define concurrent and distributed designs that use specified services of a platform. As a diagrammatic notation, RoboSim is more appealing than programming languages and yet akin to notations in current use by practitioners. Distinctively, a RoboSim model can be verified against a UML-like design of a controller.


The RoboSim control software modelling reference manual is the main reference for the RoboSim notation for control software modelling. Tool support for modelling and analysis is provided via RoboTool.


[4] A. Cavalcanti, P. Ribeiro, A. Miyazawa, A. Sampaio, M. Conserva Filho, A. Didier: RoboSim Reference Manual. University of York (2019).

[5] A. L. C. Cavalcanti, A. C. A. Sampaio, A. Miyazawa, P. Ribeiro, M. S. Conserva Filho, A. Didier, W. Li, J. Timmis: Verified simulation for robotics. Science of Computer Programming. 174, 1–37 (2019).

RoboSim: physical modelling

The RoboSim notation is used to describe the physical aspects of a robotic platform enables combined modelling, validation, and verification of the software with models of the hardware in the loop. It uses block diagrams, which can be linked to the controller model to characterise how events, variables, and operations of the software map to inputs and outputs of sensors and actuators, with the behaviours of the sensors, actuators, and joints specified by systems of differential algebraic equations.



[6] A. Miyazawa, A. Cavalcanti, S. Ahmadi, M. Post, J. Timmis: RoboSim Physical Modelling Reference Manual. University of York (2020).

RoboWorld: environment assumptions and operational requirements

RoboWorld is a controlled natural language for describing assumptions on the environment of a robot and requirements on the operation of the robotic platform. These assumptions capture information on how the robotic software interacts with its environment, allowing it to be taken into account during proof, testing and simulation.



[7] J. Baxter, G. Carvalho, A. Cavalcanti, S. Ahmadi, F. Rodrigues Júnior: RoboWorld Reference Manual. University of York (2023).

[8] A. Cavalcanti, J. Baxter, G. Carvalho: RoboWorld: Where Can My Robot Work? In: R. Calinescu and C. S. Pasareanu (eds.) Software Engineering and Formal Methods - 19th International Conference, SEFM 2021, Virtual Event, December 6-10, 2021, Proceedings. pp. 3–22. Springer (2021).

Department of Computer Science
Deramore Lane, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5GH, UK
Tel: 01904 325500
University of York legal statements