European software designers, often working in university laboratories, create some of the world's most sophisticated and reliable software systems. However, it usually falls to industrial software developers to incorporate these technological advances into marketable products. In fact, due to the growing complexity of software systems, developers find it increasingly difficult to keep pace with end-user demand for updated tools.
The IST-sponsored MODELWARE project has developed a platform that employs the scientific and technical advances of Model-Driven Development (MDD) to significantly reduce the complexity of engineering software systems.
"MDD improves developers' productivity by automating production of most software artefacts, such as tests, documentation and code," says project coordinator Philippe Millot of Palaiseau-based Thales Research & Technology in France. MODELWARE, which began in mid-2004 and ends in September 2006, combined innovations in modelling, tool development, methodologies and standardisation into a platform for large-scale deployment of model-driven development.
Software developers have to design their products to deal with a range of different environments, hardware systems, languages, country-specific standards and other specifications such as safety. "Until now, re-engineering for a particular platform, such as Windows or Linux, required working in the low-level code of that platform. This required specialisation, adding to costs and production time," explains Millot.
"MODELWARE takes the low-level code of an environment and draws a model that employs a much higher level of specification and design abstractions. In other words, the developer can work in the domain language he knows best," he says.
With model in hand, developers can discuss what the new system should do, and test their ideas with advanced simulation tools early in the design process. "The models are visual representations, but they are also machine readable and executable. So developers can just push a button that converts their models into system code, based on the transformation rules."
As most new software systems today reuse components of existing systems and undergo major changes throughout their lifetimes, initial development often accounts for less than 25% of the total design effort. Such complex systems tend to require much more focus on quality-of-service aspects such as safety and reliability. "MODELWARE saves time and allows better capitalisation of technical know-how because developers work with up-to-date models of existing systems, instead of outdated documents," Millot says.
The MODELWARE team has also defined a method that organisations can use to manage major technological changes of tools, techniques or skills. According to Millot, "The method lays out steps for assessing the organisation before undertaking the change, then defining the levels it must pass through in order to reach capability and maturity for that particular change."
MODELWARE's 19 partners, including leaders of software-intensive industries, tool vendors, academia and consultancy companies in eight European countries, are ensuring that the project's tools and methods are adopted by industry. WesternGeco for example, focusing on on-time delivery, is experimenting with MODELWARE's techniques to design and update critical systems and load new applications onto its seismic acquisition platform."
Another partner, France Telecom, is using the platform to test a voice application employing 3G telephones to make remote repairs. While Thales is testing the MDD approach for redesigning air-traffic management systems, and is also applying MODELWARE results to business applications for SMEs.
The MODELWARE platform and many of its components, libraries and adapters are open-source, and available free on the project website. However, "high-powered uses will require purchase of proprietary modelling tools," says Millot.
MODELWARE finishes on 30th September 2006, and the project team are conducting a presentation workshop in Brussels on 26th September. A follow-up project, MODELPLEX, is already starting up and applying MODELWARE's methods and tools to complex and mission-critical systems such as the internet, major transportation and security systems.
And interest in this area remains very high. "More and more tool vendors and industrials are using our techniques. We have more than 5,000 people worldwide connect to our website every day."
Jernett Karensen | alfa
Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
17.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers
17.07.2018 | University of Colorado at Boulder
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
17.07.2018 | Information Technology
17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering