Re: Help...Current status of formalization of UML

Re: Help...Current status of formalization of UML

From: Greg O'Keefe ^lt;>
Date: Sun 30 Apr 2006 - 04:00:56 BST
Message-Id: <>
Irum and all,

On Sun, 2006-04-30 at 05:01, Irum Rauf wrote:
> I am a student currently researching on formalization of UML. I have
> studied many papers regarding this topic and studied its approaches
> proposed by different researchers. 

>  I have not been able to find any recent papers in this topic. I
> wanted to know current status of formalization of UML. Which approach
> is being followed the most at industrial level? 

Everybody thinking of working on UML formalisation should read the
following 2 papers.  Harel and Rumpe explain what semantics actually is,
since this seems to be badly misunderstood by many people working on
UML.  Selic points out (claims!?) that there is some semantic content to
the official definition, and that any formalisation work should be
faithful to it.

  author = 	 {David Harel and Bernhard Rumpe},
  title = 	 {Meaningful Modeling: What's the Semantics of "Semantics"?},
  journal = 	 {Computer},
  year = 	 2004,
  pages =	 {64-72},
  month =	 {October}

  author = 	 {Bran V. Selic},
  title = 	 {On the Semantic Foundations of Standard {UML} 2.0},
  booktitle =	 {Formal Methods for the Design of Real-Time Systems:
International School on Formal Methods for the Design of Computer,
Communication, and Software Systems},
  year =	 2004,
  editor =	 {Marco Bernardo and Flavio Corradini},
  number =	 3185,
  series =	 {LNCS}

A large project sponsored by IBM, and managed by Selic, is underway to
define formal semantics for UML.
Follow the link to the ECMDA2005 workshop for some details of who is
involved and what they are doing.  Actually, many people using very
different approaches are all in this project, and its not clear to me
how all this work is to be reconciled.  This project is likely to lead
to an official formal semantics for UML, in virtue of the influence of
the people involved.  UML is driven by politics, not intellectual
virtue.  However, some very capable people are working on this project,
and what I have seen of it looks sound.

I have surveyed tonnes of UML formalisation literature, and have
recently begun to think that the most exciting work is that using graph
transformations.  (Some of the people in the IBM project work on this.)
This approach does not take any complicated reinterpretation of the
diagrams, but simply sees them as graphs.  Thus ordinary UML users 
would be able to understand the formal semantics, and this would lead to
general agreement, between people and tools, about what the diagrams

A good place to get started on this is:

  author = 	 {Luciano Baresi and Reiko Heckel},
  title = 	 {Tutorial Introduction to Graph Transformation: A Software
Engineering Perspective},
  booktitle =	 {Proceedings of the first International Workshop on
Theory and Application of Graph Transformation},
  pages =	 {402-429},
  year =	 2002

And a good representative recent article is:

  author    = {Paul Ziemann and
               Karsten H{\"o}lscher and
               Martin Gogolla},
  title     = {From UML Models to Graph Transformation Systems.},
  journal   = {Electr. Notes Theor. Comput. Sci.},
  volume    = {127},
  number    = {4},
  year      = {2005},
  pages     = {17-33},
  ee        = {},
  bibsource = {DBLP,}

More generally, you should scan the contents of proceedings of recent MoDELS conferences
the European Conference on MDA
and the Journal of Software and Systems Modeling

I hope this helps.  
Feel free to contact me off-list if you are interested in discussing it further.
Good luck!

Greg O'Keefe
Computer Sciences Laboratory
Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering
RSISE Building 115
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200

T: +61-2-6125-8608
F: +61-2-6125-8824
Received on Sun Apr 30 04:00:51 2006