How Mature is of Model-driven Engineering as an Engineering Discipline? – Panel with Manfred Broy, Paola Inverardi and Lionel Briand

Within ModelsWard 2016, just after the opening speech I gave on February 19 in Rome, the opening panel has been about the current maturity of model-driven engineering. I also hosted a poll on twitter on this matter (results are available in this other post).  

I’m happy the panelists raised several issues I pointed out myself in the introduction to the conference: as software modelling scientists, we are facing big challenges nowadays, as the focus of modelling is shifting, due to the fact that now software is more and more pervasive, in fields like IoT, social network and social media, personal and wearable devices, and so on.

Panel included the keynote speakers of the conference: Manfred Broy, Paola Inverardi and Lionel Briand, three well known names in the Software Engineering and Modeling community.

Manfred Broy highlighted:

  • there is a different between scientific maturity and practical maturity. Sometimes, the latter in companies is far beyond the former.
  • a truck company in Germany has been practicing modelling for years, and now has this take on the world: whatever is not in the models, doesn’t exist
  • The current challenges are about how to model cyber-physical systems
  • The flow of model must be clarified: traceability, refinement, model integration are crucial. You must grant syntactic and semantic coherence
  • You also need a coherent infrastructure of tools and artefacts, that grants logic integration. You cannot obtain coherence of models without coherence of tools.
  • You need a lot of automation, otherwise you won’t get practical maturity. This doesn’t mean to have end-to-end, or round-trip complete model transformations, but you need to push automaton as much as possible

Lionel Briand clarified that:

  • by definition, engineering underpins deep mathematical background as a foundation and implies application of the scientific method to solving problems
  • maturity can be evaluated in terms of: how much math underpinning is foundational, how many standards and tools exist and are used, whether the scientific approach is used
  •  Tools, methods, engineers, and scale of MDE are increasing (aka. MDE is increasingly more difficult to avoid)
Paola Inverardi recalled a position by Jean Bezivin:
  • we need to split Domain Engineering (where the problem is) and Support Engineering (where the solution will be)
  • MDE is the application of modelling principles and tools to any engineering field
  • So: is actually SOFTWARE the main field of interest of model-driven engineering?
  • In the modern interpretation of life, covering from smart cities to embedded, wearable, and cyber-physical systems, is the border between the environment and the system still relevant?
  • In the future we will need to rely less and less on the “creativity” of engineers when building models, and more and more on the scientific/ quantitative/ empirical methods for building models

The debate obviously stirred around this aspects, starting from Bran Selic who asked a very simple question:

Isn’t it the case that the real problem is about the word “modeling”? In any other fields (architecture, mechanics, physics) modelling is implicit and obvious. Why not in our community? At the end, what we want to achieve is to raise abstraction and increase automation, nothing else.

Other issues have been raised too:

  • why is there so much difference in attitude towards modelling between Europe and US?
  • what’s the role of notations and standards in the success / failure of MDE?

What’s your take on this issue?
Feel free to share your thoughts here or on Twitter, mentioning me  (@MarcoBrambi).
Respond to my poll on twitter!

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

IFML: opensource editor and university program

A bunch of new things are happening related to the recent OMG standard IFML (Interaction Flow Modeling Language):

1. A new opensource editor for the standard has been released on GitHub, together with appropriate introductory instructions and welcome page, thanks to the collaboration of WebRatio, Politecnico di Milano and Ecole des Mines de Nantes within the AutoMobile EU SME Research Project. The Editor has been developed as an EMF-based Eclipse plug-in using Obeo Sirius framework.

2. A new University Program has been released by WebRatio, which allows free access to the WebRatio Platform licenses, online multimedia and interactive learning materials, and free access to two WebRatio IFML Certification sessions.

3. And finally, stay tuned for the upcoming official delivery of Version 1.0 of the IFML standard, together with the new book on IFML, scheduled to be published shortly by Morgan Kauffman and the OMG Press (and already available for preview on Amazon!).
(and look at my tutorial on IFML to learn more on the language)
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Code Generation conference is back!

Code Generation, the premiere venue for model-driven addicted, is back in Cambridge for 2014!
If you are in the field of software modeling, software languages, design and development tools, model interpretation, executability and (of course) code generation, you should definitely attend the event.
The conference is a great mix of presentations, workshops and hands-on sessions.

We also gave our own presentation at Code Generation 2012 on WebRatio and IFML.
Here is the video of our presentation published on InfoQ.

This year the conference features a tutorial on Adaptive Embedded Development with Stephen Mellor, plus keynote speeches by Juha-Pekka Tolvanen (CEO of MetaCase) and by  Johan den Haan (CTO of Mendix).

You can find more on the official conference web site:

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At full throttle towards IFML with WebRatio

IFML (Interaction Flow Modeling Language) - OMG (Object Management Group) - WebRatio logos

With its updated site and recent blog post from its CEO Stefano Butti, WebRatio is allowing its customers to move at full throttle towards the new OMG standard IFML, the Interaction Flow Modeling Language.

In particular, WebRatio is now granting the availability of both an opensource IFML editor with proof of concept implementation of integrated fUML and Alf runtime support and of the industrial-strength implementation supporting end-to-end development, from model definition to code generation and deployment (the WebRatio application platform). These are great facilities for future IFML developers and contributors.

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).