In this paper we investigate the expressive power of three alternative approaches to the definition of infinite behaviours in process calculi, namely, recursive definitions, replication and iteration. We prove several results discriminating between the calculi obtained from a core CCS by adding the three mechanisms mentioned above. These results are derived by considering the decidability of four basic properties: termination (that is, all computations are finite); convergence (that is, the existence of a finite computation); barb (that is, the ability to perform an action on a given channel) and weak bisimulation.
Our results, which are summarised in Table 1, show that the three calculi form a strict expressiveness hierarchy in that: all the properties mentioned are undecidable in CCS with recursion; only termination and barb are decidable in CCS with replication; all the properties are decidable in CCS with iteration.
As a corollary, we also obtain a strict expressiveness hierarchy with respect to weak bisimulation, since there exist weak bisimulation preserving encodings of iteration in replication and of replication in recursion, whereas there are no weak bisimulation preserving encodings in the other directions.