Modeling and Analyzing Engagement in Social Network Challenges

Within a completely new line of research, we are exploring the power of modeling for human behaviour analysis, especially within social networks and/or in occasion of large scale live events. Participation to challenges within social networks is a very effective instrument for promoting a brand or event and therefore it is regarded as an excellent marketing tool.
Our first reasearch has been published in November 2016 at WISE Conference, covering the analysis of user engagement within social network challenges.
In this paper, we take the challenge organizer’s perspective, and we study how to raise the
engagement of players in challenges where the players are stimulated to
create and evaluate content, thereby indirectly raising the awareness about the brand or event itself. Slides are available on slideshare:

We illustrate a comprehensive model of the actions and strategies that can be exploited for progressively boosting the social engagement during the challenge evolution. The model studies the organizer-driven management of interactions among players, and evaluates
the effectiveness of each action in light of several other factors (time, repetition, third party actions, interplay between different social networks, and so on).
We evaluate the model through a set of experiment upon a real case, the YourExpo2015 challenge. Overall, our experiments lasted 9 weeks and engaged around 800,000  users on two different social platforms; our quantitative analysis assesses the validity of the model.



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Video of the Interview with Richard Soley (OMG) on IFML and user interaction modelling

Here is a short clip of the interview regarding the Interaction Flow Modeling Language (IFML) recorded in March 2015, in occasion of the release of IFML 1.0.
In the interview we discuss with Richard Soley about the relevance of user interaction modelling, the way it can be integrated with broader modelling projects, and the impact it has on overall design effort of software systems. Emanuele Molteni also discusses some success stories in the application of IFML in large-scale industrial projects in the US, by means of the WebRatio tool.
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Success story paper: Large-scale Model-Driven Engineering of Web User Interaction with WebML and WebRatio

Our paper “Large-scale Model-Driven Engineering of Web User Interaction: The WebML and WebRatio experience” has been published online on Elsevier’s journal: Science of Computer Programming, in the special issue Success Stories in Model Driven Engineering (edited by Davide Di Ruscio, Richard Paige, Alfonso Pierantonio).

The history we report spans across a decade that has seen a dramatic  change in the way software applications are built, which can be summarized  in three fundamental factors that impacted the evolution of WebML and  WebRatio:
  • The progressive consolidation of theWeb as an application development platform
  • At the front-end, the multiplication of access devices and usage scenarios
  • At the back-end, Business Process Models emerged as a uniform way of representing cross-organization functionality, and Service Oriented Architecture as the technical vehicle for deploying process enactment on top of heterogeneous IT infrastructures.
These change drivers put much strain on a DSL like WebML, born for capturing the  features of the Web, and produced the timeline shown below:

The paper reports on our experience with WebML and WebRatio and describes the perspective of the new IFML standard adopted by OMG. The report tells the story of our company in the MDE tool market, facing the challenges of deploying MDE solutions in large-scale industrial players, with a focus on the model-driven design of user interaction and on code generation across all the tiers of Web/SOA applications. We describe our decisions on the DSL (domain specific language) and on the features we decided to implement (or not) in the tool. 
The paper includes an overview of WebRatio and of its accompanying DSL for Web application design (WebML); it describes the parallel evolution of the WebML language and of the WebRatio development environment; it reports on the the lessons learnt from the joint design of the DSL and of its support tool; it presents a sample of customer histories and reports some quantitative measures on the WebRatio usage, together with some statistics on WebML models size and development effort. Finally, we take the occasion to reflect on the success and failure factors for MDE emerged from the WebRatio experience.

The paper is available from Elsevier and also here in our open-access preprint version.

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An unexpected journey, and not Bilbo’s one

In my life, I’ve always been craving for travels, visiting places, experiencing arts and seeing new things.
I never appreciated those kinds of holidays where you just sit and do nothing, I liked doing trips and sightseeing, I liked coming back from holidays more tired than then I left.

Still, we know life is always full of surprises. When I spent a few months in Cisco, CA, I was thinking that could be my first and last abroad experience. But then, I discovered our work puts us on the road all the time.

I ended up feeling like sort of a missionary of model-driven solutions, software methods, and so on.
I know locations of all shops and business in most of the airport terminals of Europe, US and more.
Airports are kind of second home, and I’m hopping from plane to plane every time.

So, the journey was unexpected (poor Bilbo Baggins!) and it’s also likely to be lifelong.
Luckily enough, I’m not at the point of George Clooney in Up in the air (and I’m not George Clooney either, despite living some 10 km from his villa). [aside: I suggest you see that movie anyway]

But a question raises here anyway:
is this journey leading somewhere?

I’m not talking about my traveling only anymore here: I’m wondering about the model-driven journey at large, for the entire field.

This existential question is something we all should wonder about. Are we just wandering or do we see a trend or direction that MDE is taking toward success and adoption?

From my side, looking back to my last 10 years of MDE experience, I’d like to say that I actually see some advancement to happen.
MDE is more recognized today, big companies are adopting more and more model-driven or at least model-based practices, business and IT are converging on communication based on models.

My last trip brought me to L’Aquila, the wonderful small Italian city that has been known world-wide for the major earthquake that did so much damage three years ago. That has been a special trip actually: great place, mountains, food, and people, and also the unique experience of walking amid ancient breached buildings, deserted streets in the ghost downtown, military patrolled “red zone”, and people that strive to go back to normal life.

I had the opportunity of presenting “our MDE success story” on WebML and WebRatio at the University of L’Aquila, where great people are pushing the rebirth of the research, teaching and city life at large. That made me think to this journey and condense my thoughts in a presentation you can see below (and on Slideshare). The interesting thing here is that, besides some lesson learnt, you can find some factual, quantitative data there!

The presentation is also partially reporting on a paper that has been recently accepted in a Special issue on MDE Success Stories edited by Richard Paige, Alfonso Pierantonio, and Davide Di Ruscio on Elsevier’s Science of Computer Programming Journal. But I’ll be back with more details on this later.

What I would like to ask now is: Do you see that MDE is getting somewhere? Or are we stuck in the Dead Marshes?

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Global Awards for Excellence in BPM & Workflow – by Keith Swenson and Nathaniel Palmer

Global excellence in BPM and Workflow LogoIt’s with great pleasure that I can announce that the model-driven approach proposed by WebRatio has won the Special Mention Award within the Global Awards for Excellence in BPM and Workflow, promoted by WfMC,, and Future Strategies.

You can read the full announcement here and you can follow the webinar of the award ceremony on SlideShare (see below).

WebRatio has won thanks to the success story of SET Distribuzione, an Italian customer in the utility and energy sector, that obtained a saving of 300K EU per year thanks to the implemented application and experienced a process complexity reduction of around 40% (which lead to the same proportion of saved time during operations).
This has been obtained by pervasive application of MDD quick prototyping during the whole project, which granted an elapsed development time of only 3 months.

You can download the full SET Distribuzione case description from here (PDF file, 8 pages).

See and hear more in the webinar below, presented by Keith Swenson and Nathaniel Palmer.

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