Friday, January 22, 2016

"What's special about us?" Harvard computational science symposium on Brain+Computer systems

On Friday, January 22, 2016 I attended a very interesting symposium organised by Harvard University Institute for Computational Science on "BRAIN + MACHINES: EXPLORING THE FRONTIERS OF NEUROSCIENCE AND COMPUTER SCIENCE".

Although it fell outside my main research fields, I found it very interesting and enlightening. And the discussed topics could also imply some crucial role for modelling practices.
The introductory speech by David Cox, addressed the role and span of brain studies. First, he pointed out that when we say we want to study the brain, at a deep level, we say we want to study ourselves.
Indeed, we all perceive human species is special. But why is that? We are not the biggest, longest-living, most numerous, most adapted species. We simply cover a niche, as any other species.

What's special about us is the complexity, not in general sense (nature is plenty of complexity), but specifically complexity of our brain.
Our brain includes 100 billions neutrons, and 100 trillions connections.
We are able to deal with complex information in incredible ways, because each neuron is actually a small computer, and globally our brain is enormously more powerful than any computer built so far.
We therefore build clusters of computers. But this is still not enough to obtain the brain power, we need to understand how brain works, to treat and replicate it.
Typical and crucial problems include to study: vision and image processing, positioning and mobility, and so on.
That's where I think modelling can play a crucial role here.
As we clearly pointed out in our book Model-driven Development in Practice, modelling and abstraction is a natural way of working for our brain. And I got confirmation from renowned luminaries from Harvard today.
I really think that, should we discover the modelling approaches of our mind, we could disclose a lot of important aspects of several research fields.
Just imagine if:

  • we could represent human brain processes through models
  • we could replicate these processes and apply modelling techniques for improving, transforming and exploiting such models. 
This would pave the way to infinite applications and researches. However, one big challenge opens up for the modelling community: are we able to deal with models including trillions of items??

Any further insights on this?

If you want further details on the event, checkout the official website of the symposium here and my storified social media report here or in the preview below:




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Monday, January 4, 2016

ECMFA: 12th European Conference on Modelling Foundations and Applications

This year I'm involved in the program committee of the Foundations track of ECMFA.
ECMFA 2016 is the 12th European Conference on Modelling Foundations and Applications and is co-located with STAF 2016, on 4-8 July, 2016, in Vienna, Austria. Here are some core excerpts from the call for papers, which could be of interest for software modelling practitioners.



The ECMFA conference series is dedicated to advancing the state of knowledge and fostering the industrial application of Model-Based Engineering (MBE, an approach to the design, analysis and development of software and systems based on high-level models and computer-based automation). Its focus is on engaging the key figures of research and industry in a dialog which will result in stronger and more effective practical application of MBE, hence producing more reliable software based on state-of-the-art research results.

The official conference web site is available at: http://ecmfa2016.itu.dk/

ECMFA 2016 will be co-located with ICMT, TAP, SEFM, ICGT and TTC as part of
the STAF federation of conferences, leading conferences on software
technologies (http://stafconferences.info). The joint organization of
these prominent conferences provides a unique opportunity to gather
practitioners and researchers interested in all aspects of software
technology, and allow them to interact with each other.

ECMFA has two distinct Paper Tracks: one for research papers (Track F)
dealing with the foundations for MBE, and one for industrial/applications
papers (Track A) dealing with the applications of MBE, including experience
reports on MBE tools.

Research Papers (Track F)
In this track, we are soliciting papers presenting original research on all
aspects of MBE. Typical topics of interest include, among others:
  • Foundations of (Meta)modelling
  • Domain Specific Modelling Languages and Language Workbenches
  • Model Reasoning, Testing and Validation
  • Model Transformation, Code Generation and Reverse Engineering
  • Model Execution and Simulation
  • Model Management aspects such as (Co-)Evolution, Consistency, Synchronization
  • Model-Based Engineering Environments and Tool Chains
  • Foundations of Requirements Modelling, Architecture Modelling, Platform Modelling
  • Foundations of Quality Aspects and Modelling non-functional System Properties
  • Scalability of MBE techniques
  • Collaborative Modeling
Industrial Papers (Track A)
In this track, we are soliciting papers representing views, innovations and
experiences of industrial players in applying or supporting MBE. In
particular, we are looking for papers that set requirements on the
foundations, methods, and tools for MBE. We are also seeking experience
reports or case studies on the application, successes or current
shortcomings of MBE. Quantitative results reflecting industrial experience
are particularly appreciated. All application areas of MBE are welcomed
including but not limited to any of the following:

  • MBE for Large and Complex Industrial Systems
  • MBE for Safety-Critical Systems
  • MBE for Cyber-Physical Systems
  • MBE for Software and Business Process Modelling
  • MBE Applications in Transportation, Health Care, Cloud & Mobile computing, etc. ...
  • Model-Based Integration and Simulation
  • Model-Based System Analysis
  • Application of Modeling Standards
  • Comparative Studies of MBE Methods and Tools
  • Metrics for MBE Development
  • MBE Training
Research papers should be up to 16 pages long; Industrial
papers should be 12 pages long (full papers), or 2 pages long (short
papers). Short papers will be given shorter presentation slots.
The authors of selected best papers from the foundations track will be
invited to submit extended version to a special issue of the SoSyM journal
(with another review process).

Important dates for authors:

Abstract submission deadline: February 15, 2016 AoE
Papers submission deadline: March 1, 2016 AoE
Notification to authors: April 7, 2016
Camera ready versions due: April 28, 2016

The complete call for papers is available here in text and here as pdf.



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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Automatic Code Generation for Cross-platform, Multi-Device Mobile Apps. An Industrial Experience

With Aldo Bongio (WebRatio), Jordi Cabot (ICREA and UOC), Hamza Ed-douibi (EMN) and Eric Umuhoza (Politenico di Milano), we worked on a research on Automatic Code Generation for Cross-platform, Multi-Device Mobile Apps.

We presented our study at the MobileDeLi workshop, where we reported on a comparative study conducted to identify the best trade-offs between different automatic code generation strategies.
Here are the slides presented there:

We covered the following strategies by implementing them using different technologies and target platforms:
  1. PIM-to-Native Code (NC)
  2. PIM-to-PSM-to-NC
  3. PSM-to-NC.
  4. PIM-to-Cross Platform Code (CPC)
  5. PIM-to-Framework Specific Model (FSM)-to-CPC
Some additional details are available in this post by Eric on Jordi's blog.

Our study showed that there is no approach better than others in absolute terms but provided useful guidelines (e.g. cross platform approaches are generally advisable for companies with limited resoures) that helped us to identify the best strategy for the WebRatio company in particular.

Obviously, further investigations are ongoing...

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Open position for Full Professor at Ecole des Mines de Nantes, AtlanMod group

I wish to extend this invitation for an open position I received, with request of reposting and dissemination.

The AtlanMod research team (Inria, Mines Nantes, LINA) in Nantes (http://www.emn.fr/x-info/atlanmod) is hiring a full professor on an Inria chair to take the lead of the team and create a new Inria project-team in the future.
At AtlanMod they are looking for a high-profile researcher in the area of Modeling/MDE and its various applications, with experience in international research projects.
The working language of the team is English, so non-French speakers are also welcome.
You can find and download the complete position description from http://www.mines-nantes.fr/en/Media/Elements-RH/Full-professor-on-a-Mines-Nantes-Inria-chair-in-Software-Engineering-and-Model-Driven-Engineering

Deadline is very soon (by the end of this week) so please quickly contact Carole Menetrot (carole.menetrot@mines-nantes.fr) to get your application file!
In addition, feel free to contact anyone from the team for more information (or use our dedicated atlanmod-contact@mines-nantes.fr).


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Monday, October 26, 2015

An Empirical Study on Simplification of Business Process Modeling Languages

Today I gave my presentation of our Empirical Study on Simplification of Business Process Modeling Languages at the Conference of Software Language Engineering, in Pittsburg, PA (co-located with Splash 2015).

You can find the full presentation here below, and some more details in this post by Eric Umuhoza on Jordi Cabot's blog.


  

The work is based on the fact that the adaptation, specially by means of a simplification process, of modeling languages is a common practice due to the overwhelming complexity of most standard languages (like UML or BPMN), not needed for typical usage scenarios while at the same time companies don't want to go to the extremes of defining a brand new domain specific language.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of examples of such simplification experiences that can be used as a reference for future projects. In this paper we report on a field study aimed at the simplification of a business process modeling language (namely, BPMN) for making it suitable to end users.

Our simplification process relies on a set of steps that encompass the selection of the language elements to simplify, generation of a set of language variants for them, measurement of effectiveness of the variants through user modeling sessions and extraction of quantitative and qualitative data for guiding the selection of the best language refinement, as shown here:


We describe the experimental setting, the output of the various steps of the analysis, and the results we obtained from users. Finally, we conclude with an outlook towards the generalization of the approach and consolidation of a language simplification method.
Out of this, you can also find an overview on how these results have been used by Fluxedo, a startup around a mobile app for social task planning.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

OMG Standards At Work in the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) - summary of the day and materials

Today September 24, 2015, a special event took place in Cambridge, MA: the OMG Standards At Work in the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT).

I have been asked to give a speech on the role of user interaction modelling within complex IoT system in industry: Internet of Things and Internet of People: The Role of User Interaction in the IIoT vision.

The full slide deck is available here:



You can also have a look at the video of my presentation on Periscope:
Video of the presentation on Periscope.

Here is my take on the topic: User interaction plays a crucial role in every system. This is true for IoT too. Sensors, actuators and intelligent things connected together can cooperate and exchange information, but their ultimate goal is to provide value to people. Such value can be perceived only through appropriate user interfaces, which visualise information (through dashboard, reports, or infographics), let user navigate the information, and also interact with the devices, by setting properties or regulating their behavior. That's why it's important that in the IIoT development context we consider also user interaction. In my presentation I introduced IFML, the Interaction Flow Modeling Language, the OMG standard that focuses on user interfaces and their integration with information systems, data sources, sensors and actuators. The presentation reports on some success stories from the industry, where IFML has been successfully applied. Large scale examples include consumer-oriented user interfaces, backend systems, data analysis dashboards, and interactions for command and control. Adopters include GE, Acer Computer, banks, utilities and military.

The other speakers of the event also provided interesting use cases, examples and insights on the span of the effort and potential of IoT, especially in the industrial environment. The speeches were as follows:
  • Welcome: by Dr. Richard Soley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Object Management Group (OMG) and Executive Director, Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) --
  •  Introduction and Overview: by Andrew Watson, Vice President and Technical Director Object Management Group (OMG)
  • DDS Applications in the Industrial Internet of Things: by Dr. Stan Schneider, CEO, Real-Time Innovations, Inc. 
  • DDS - Aligning OT and IT to Deliver the Potential of the Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT): by Steve Jennis, Sr. Vice President, Corporate Development, PrismTech 
  • SysML - System Modeling Language Benefits for the Complex Systems of IIoT: by Matthew Hause, GTM Technical Specialist, Engineering Fellow, PTC, OMG UPDM Co-Chair 
  • CISQ - Software Risk in the IoT Universe: by Dr. Bill Curtis, Director, Consortium for IT Software Quality (CISQ) 
  • System Assurance and Related Standards: by Dr. Ben Calloni, Lockheed Martin Fellow, Lockheed Martin and Co-Chair OMG System Assurance Task Force
Find the full program of the day and materials by the other presenters here: OMG Standards for IIoT agenda.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

CityOmeters, our solution for smartcity analysis and management, presented at EXPO2015

CityOmeters, the complete solution proposed by Fluxedo for smart city management that includes social engagement via micro-planning and big data flow analytics over social content and IoT, has been presented today at EXPO 2015 in Milano, in the Samsung and TIM pavilion.
See the slides below:



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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Why we built an app and why we got featured as best app in the Apple store

It took years, countless hours of work and conceptual effort by a good bunch of people, but last December we delivered our flagship app Fluxedo to the Apple Store and Android Play Store.
And yes, we got featured as best new app in the Apple store.
This was a great surprise, for several reasons:

  • we built Fluxedo with cross-platform, non-native technologies
  • the UX was pixel-perfect wrt the Google material design guidelines
  • we didn't advertise, push or apply any PR techniques on the app
And anyway, we got selected by Apple. 
How was that?
I think three main points contributed to this success are:
  • detailed studies of UX, feedback from user panels, and expertise in usability
  • maniacal care on the implementation issues, performance, and testing of features
  • solid data management architecture
  • long-term research underneath the concept of the app (as apparent from various scientific publications that feature the technical aspects of the product: we got papers accepted at BPMS2 2012, MobileSoft 2015, ICWE 2015, and SLE 2015)
All this allowed a resulting app that is undistinguishable from native ones and works perfectly on any device.
Add to this a continuous improvement and evolution philosophy, and you get the core of the values of Fluxedo. WE are now working intensively on a new version of the app, completely re-engineered, to further improve the user experience and performance.

You can get an idea of the app from this video (or visit www.fluxedo.com):




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OMG Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Standards At Work

What do SysML™, IFML™, SysA and DDS™ standards have in common, and how can they be put at work in the (Industrial) Internet of Things [IoT and IIoT] context?

Industrial Plant schema
Industrial plant with IoT sensors and data sharing

To respond to this question, I will join a special event by the Object Management Group (OMG) on September 23, 2015, from 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm at the Cambridge, MA meeting. 
The event will consist of short presentations of the standards, panels and discussions of industrial cases and will allow a closer look at how OMG standards are shaping the Industrial Internet of Things around the globe. OMG is joining forces with IIC (Industrial Internet Consortium) for covering IIoT.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is delivering improved productivity, major cost savings, and streamlined processes to professionals from all industries. OMG has been active in IIoT standardization from long before "IIoT" became an industry buzzword. 
This half-day information session brings together industry experts who will share case studies of these standards at work in the Industrial Internet, and present their vision of the future within this rapidly growing field. OMG is committed in supporting IIoT efforts and its standards cover several aspects of the field, as described here.
The topics covered during the event include:

  • SysML - System Modeling Language. SysML is a dialect of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) standard, and supports the specification, analysis, design, verification and validation of a broad range of systems and systems-of-systems. 
  • IFML - Interaction Flow Modeling Language. IFML is designed for expressing the content, user interaction and control behavior of the front-end of applications, including complex systems found in the Industrial Internet of Things.
  • SysA - System Assurance and CISQ. OMG's Systems Assurance Task Force (SysA TF) works with CISQ on standards that ensure the reliability, safety and security of IIoT systems. 
  • DDS - Data Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems. OMG's  DDS standard provides a protocol that meets the demanding scalability, performance, and Quality of Service requirements of IIoT applications spanning connected machines, enterprise systems, and mobile devices. 
The event is free and anyone can join. You can register to the event here:

OMG IIoT event

You can find here the official page of the event, with the detailed program and other information.


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Monday, July 27, 2015

Webinar on WebRatio BPM Platform 8.4

I'm glad to share the video of the most recent webinar on WebRatio BPM Platform, the BPMN-based tool designed to support you in building high-end BPM Web and mobile Apps with a tailored User Experience. If you never experienced WebRatio BPM Platform, here is a summary of what you can do with it:

  •  DEVELOP WEB AND MOBILE APPS through prototypes, then change them as many times as you need. No more time wasted building mockups on paper. 
  • NO VENDOR LOCK IN thanks to highly optimized generated code that is open, human readable and based on the most recent Java and JS frameworks. 
  • DEFINE A CUSTOM WEB OR MOBILE FRONT END for your BPM App and create a customized user interface, giving every channel a different user experience. 
  • SUPPORT YOUR USERS’ MOBILITY thanks to the mobile BPM capabilities that let you work on your BPM App on any device, desktop or mobile, and deliver a seamless user experience.
Discover more on the WebRatio site or watch the video of the webinar on YouTube:
 


 

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