Artificial Intelligence Research Group

Some Past and Current Projects
Under Development

29. AMUSE: Architectural Modelling to Understand System Evolution
Investigator(s): Professor Tom Addis, Dr. Galal Galal & Dr. Alex Gegov

The project is to uncover the architectonic nature of computer systems and see how these may be related to high-level, but also grounded, model of the original problem domain. An architectonic view of software drawn from the discipline of architecture was adapted to program design. We show that programs do reflect their purpose, as well as the surrounding human culture, in their construction. Five large establish industrial programs were transformed into a unifying functional form, which allowed a structural model of a program (GSAM) to be tested. The structural model arose from three principles of design: abstraction, decomposition and modelling. Tests showed the principles coherent with the observations but incoherent with the original model. A new model RGSAM was proposed to fit these observations better. Further tests, suggested by this new model, showed the effects of common design strategies used by all the designers for coping with complexity. These strategies confine a program structure to stable structural relationships irrespective of its purpose. Some common assumptions about program structures such as groups with low cohesion between them and high cohesion within them, were shown inconsistent with the observations. Examination of one of the problem domains using a grounded method (GSEM) confirmed that the program structure was isomorphic with parts of its problem domain. A universal constructional theory for systems ensuring the flexibility of a program was suggested from these results involving a dual development cycle for both the artefact- and problem-domain.

Addis T. R. & Galal H. G., (2001), Using Problem-Domain and Artefact-Domain Architectural Modelling to Understand System Evolution, ECIS 2001, The 9th European Conference on Information Systems. Global Cooperation in the New Millennium., 27th -29th June, Bled, Slovenia.
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