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Public Ph.D. Defense

Model-Driven Development of Model Transformations

Friday, April 4, 2008 (16h00)

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Aula G010, University of Antwerp, Middelheimlaan 1, 2020 Antwerpen:
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Public Ph.D. Defense - Pieter Van Gorp
This thesis presents how evolving software models expressed in different formalisms can be kept consistent by means of an object-oriented integration of metamodeling, design by contract and graph transformation. It incrementally builds upon existing modeling languages to illustrate that the adoption of the new model-driven engineering paradigm does not force organizations to abandon their investments in more mature technologies. More specifically, this thesis shows how the new transformation languages introduced by the Model Driven Architecture standardization effort relate to fragments of the UML that have a well-known, object-oriented semantics. The proposed techniques have emerged from several case studies that involve a wide variety of transformation challenges. Therefore, the contributions are applicable for transformation modeling in general: at first, it is illustrated how model evolution can be supported; secondly, the technique is applied to transform conceptual models into more computer oriented ones; finally, the technique is applied and extended in the context of model synchronization.
In summary, this thesis argues that one should not treat transformations as software artifacts that require completely new languages and/or development techniques. Instead, the development of transformations should be supported more by techniques that are successful in the context of end-user application development. More specifically, this thesis illustrates how techniques that emerged in the context of model-driven engineering for end-user applications can support the development of the supportive model transformations too. In particular, the thesis shows how transformations can be modeled and transformed with standard versions of existing languages. This reduces the total amount of technologies that need to be mastered by industrial software engineers. Moreover, research on application modeling in general can now be aligned further with research on model transformations. This reduces the chance that separate communities work on the same fundamental problems without realizing this.

The thesis text is available on my research homepage. The following summary that indicates how my publications relate to chapters from the thesis:

  1. Introduction: no actual contribution and therefore not supported by dedicated papers. The introduction to UML profiles does reuse fragments from a Dagstuhl'05 report.
  2. A Taxonomy of Model Transformation: Significant extension of a Dagstuhl'04 report and of two GraMoT'05 papers (taxonomy and application). The chapter will lead to a journal article that will use an extension of the running example from my AToM3 paper as an integrated example and will remove the forward references to the examples from the other thesis chapters.
  3. Towards Automating Source-Consistent UML Refactoring: based on my UML'03 paper but not discussing the metamodel for representing source code.
  4. Expressing Refactorings as Story Diagrams: revision of Fujaba Days'03 paper.
  5. Standardizing Story Diagrams using UML and MOF: based on Fujaba Days'04 paper and SETra'04 paper. Contains additional background information and an updated discussion of related work.
  6. UML2CSP: a Platform Independent Transformation Model: based on AGTiVE'07 tool contest presentation and AGTiVE'07 paper.
  7. Copying Subgraphs within Model Repositories: significant extension of my GT-VMT'06 paper.
  8. Copy2GT: A Higher-Order Transformation Model: contribution that was briefly announced in the GT-VMT'06 paper but that was not "written down" before. This chapter may lead to a new paper.
  9. CAViT: Consistency Maintenance with Transformation Contracts. The approach originates from my EDOC'04 conference paper, a preliminary version was outlined in a Dagstuhl'05 report and later published as an ECMDA Traceability'06 paper.
  10. Towards Hybrid Transformation Modeling: ongoing work, based on a technical report.
  11. Summary and Conclusions: the cross-chapter conclusion of the thesis has not been published in a dedicated paper yet. I plan to make it the main message of a paper that has the Copy2GT transformation as its technical core.

For a gentle introduction to my main contributions, please check out the recording of the presentation for the general public:

Model-driven Development of Model Transformations from Pieter Van Gorp on Vimeo. Top of this page...



Olaf Muliawan, Pieter Van Gorp, Anne Keller, Dirk Janssens. Executing a Standard Compliant Transformation Model on a Non-standard Platform. Workshop on Modeling, Validation and Heterogeneity (MoVaH). Satelite event of the First IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, verification and validation (ICST). Lillehammer, Norway. 04/2008.
Pieter Van Gorp, Hans Schippers, Serge Demeyer and Dirk Janssens. Students can get excited about Formal Methods: a model-driven course on Petri-Nets, Metamodels and Graph Grammars. MoDELS Educators' Symposium. Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1/10/2007.
Online PDF, Slides. Extended version accepted in Journal of Information and Software Technology (published by Elsevier).
Best Paper Award
Best Paper Award.


Daniel Varro, Mark Asztalos, Denes Bisztray, Artur Boronat, Rubino Geiss, Martin Gogolla, Pieter Van Gorp, Ole Kniemeyerinst, Anantha Narayanan, Edgars Rencis, and Erhard Weinell Graph Transformation Tools Contest on the Transformation of UML Models to CSP. 3rd International Workshop and Symposium on Applications of Graph Transformation with Industrial Relevance. Kassel, Germany. 12/10/2007.
To be published in Springer Press Lecture Notes in Computer Science Proceedings (LNCS).
Pieter Van Gorp, Olaf Muliawan, Anne Keller, Dirk Janssens. Executing a Platform Independent Model of the UML-to-CSP Transformation on a Commercial Platform. AGTIVE 2007 Tool Contest, 3rd International Workshop and Symposium on Applications of Graph Transformation with Industrial Relevance. Kassel, Germany. 12/10/2007.
Online PDF. HTML docs and Case Study artifact download.


Pieter Van Gorp, Olaf Muliawan and Dirk Janssens. Integrating a Declarative with an Imperative Model Transformation Language. Technical report (number 2006-12), University of Antwerp (Belgium), Department of Mathematics & Computer Science, September 2006.
Online PDF, Slides presented at the First International Triple Graph Grammar Workshop.
Pieter Van Gorp, Frank Altheide and Dirk Janssens. Towards 2D Traceability in a Platform for Contract Aware Visual Transformations with Tolerated Inconsistencies. Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference (EDOC), Hong Kong, 16/10/2006. IEEE.
Published by IEEE, Online PDF, Slides.
Pieter Van Gorp, Frank Altheide and Dirk Janssens. Traceability and Fine-Grained Constraints in Interactive Inconsistency Management. In Tor Neple, Jon Oldevik and Jan Aagedal, editors, Second ECMDA Traceability Workshop (ECMDA-TR 2006). Bilbao, Spain. 10/7/2006.
Online PDF.
Pieter Van Gorp, Hans Schippers and Dirk Janssens. Copying Subgraphs within Model Repositories. 5th International Workshop on Graph Transformation and Visual Modeling Techniques (GT-VMT). Vienna, Austria. April 1 - 2, 2006
Online PDF, Slides. Final version of paper: see


Tom Mens, Pieter Van Gorp, Daniel Varro and Gabor Karsai. Applying a Model Transformation Taxonomy to Graph Transformation Technology. International Workshop on Graph and Model Transformation (GraMoT). A satellite event of the Fourth International Conference on Generative Programming and Component Engineering (GPCE). Tallinn, Estonia. September 28 , 2005.
Online PDF.
Tom Mens and Pieter Van Gorp. A Taxonomy of Model Transformation. International Workshop on Graph and Model Transformation (GraMoT). A satellite event of the Fourth International Conference on Generative Programming and Component Engineering (GPCE). Tallinn, Estonia. September 28 , 2005.
Online PDF.
Tom Mens and Krzysztof Czarnecki and Pieter Van Gorp. 04101 Discussion -- A Taxonomy of Model Transformations. Language Engineering for Model-Driven Software Development (Dagstuhl Seminar Proceedings 04101), Schloss Dagstuhl (Germany), 29.02.2004-05.03.2004
Online PDF.
Pieter Van Gorp and Dirk Janssens. CAViT: a Consistency Maintenance Framework based on Transformation Contracts. Dagstuhl Seminar 05161 - "Transformation Techniques in Software Engineering", Schloss Dagstuhl (Germany), 17.04.05-22.04.05
Online PDF, Slides. Seminar Homepage.
Hans Schippers, Pieter Van Gorp and Dirk Janssens. Leveraging UML Profiles to generate Plugins from Visual Model Transformations. Software Evolution through Transformations (SETra). Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science, 127(3):5-16. Satellite of the 2nd Intl. Conference on Graph Transformation (ICGT), Rome (Italy), October 2, 2004.
Online PDF. BibTeX.


Hans Schippers and Pieter Van Gorp. Standardizing SDM for Model Transformations. Second Int. Fujaba Days (FD'04), Darmstadt (Germany), September 15-17, 2004.
Online PDF.
Pieter Van Gorp, Dirk Janssens and Tracy Gardner. Write Once, Deploy N: a Performance Oriented MDA Case Study. 8th IEEE International Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference (EDOC 2004), Monterey (California, USA), September 20-24, 2004.
Published by IEEE, Online PDF, Slides.
Pieter Van Gorp, Niels Van Eetvelde, and Dirk Janssens. Implementing Refactorings as Graph Rewrite Rules on a Platform Independent Metamodel. In Proceedings of the 1st International Fujaba Days. University of Kassel (Germany), October 13-14, 2003.
Online PDF


Pieter Van Gorp, Hans Stenten, Tom Mens, and Serge Demeyer. Towards automating source-consistent UML Refactorings. In Proceedings of << UML >> 2003 - The Unified Modeling Language. San Francisco (California, USA), October 20-24, 2003. Springer-Verlag.
Online PDF. Springer Link.

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