[ecoop-info] Deadline extension: FlexiTools 2011 - ICSE 2011 Workshop on Flexible Modeling Tools

Harold Ossher ossher at us.ibm.com
Wed Jan 12 23:55:21 CET 2011

The submission deadline has been extended to Monday, February 7, 2011


FlexiTools 2011: ICSE 2011 Workshop on Flexible Modeling Tools


Sunday, May 22, 2011
Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA


Most activities during the software lifecycle involve producing and
manipulating representations of information. These range from domain
analysis (such as business analysis) during the early stages of
requirements engineering, through architectural and lower-level design, to
coding, testing and beyond. The information representations are models, and
hence these are modeling activities, though not typically called that in
all cases. Many modeling tools exist to support modeling activities. They
have a variety of advantages, such as syntax and semantics checking,
providing multiple views of models for visualization and convenience of
manipulation, providing domain-specific assistance (e.g., "content assist")
based on model structure, providing documentation of the modeling
decisions, ensuring consistency of the models, and facilitating integration
with other formal tools and processes, such as model driven engineering
(MDE) and model checking.

Despite these advantages, however, formal modeling tools are usually not
used for many of these activities. During the exploratory phases of design,
it is more common to use whiteboards, pen and paper or other informal
mechanisms. Free-form diagrams drawn there serve as the centerpiece of
discussion and can easily evolve as discussion proceeds. During the early
stages of requirements engineering, when stakeholders are being interviewed
and domain understanding is being built, it is more common to use office
tools (word processors, spreadsheets and drawing/presentation tools).
Free-form textual documents, tables and diagrams serve as working documents
and can easily be fashioned into presentations to stakeholders that are
such an important part of this activity. The documents are easy to share
with stakeholders. Users are also not forced to commit too early to
specific choices, and thus have freedom during highly iterative,
exploratory activities. Other examples exist as well.

Formal modeling tools thus have strengths and weaknesses complimentary to
more informal but flexible, free-form tools, and vice versa. Practitioners
throughout the software lifecycle must currently choose between them for
each particular task. Whichever they choose, they lose the advantages of
the other, with attendant frustration, loss of productivity and sometimes
loss of traceability and reduced quality.

What can be done about this unfortunate dichotomy? Tools that blend the
advantages of modeling tools and the more free-form approaches offer the
prospect of allowing users to make tradeoffs between flexibility and
precision/formality and to move smoothly between them. We call these
flexible modeling tools. They might be modeling tools with added
flexibility, or office tools with added modeling support, or tools of a new
kind. They might leverage new approaches such as tool-as-a-service,
cloud-based tools or web 2.0. Tools may embody new and more flexible
approaches to the capture and analysis of captured models e.g. for
extraction of models from natural language, detection of and/or tolerating
inconsistency. They may provide flexible visualization approaches as well
as or instead of editing.

Workshop Focus

The focus of the workshop will be on challenge problems in the area of
flexible modeling and visualisation. In burgeoning fields, it is valuable
for the community to identify key, difficult problems that help to define
the research area and serve as a means of evaluating the success of
proposed solutions in that area. The concrete goals of this workshop are to
identify a foundational set of challenges and concerns for the field of
flexible modeling, and to propose promising directions for addressing each
of these identified challenges. To that end, it will bring together people
who understand tool users' needs, tool usability, cognitive issues, user
interface design, tool design, and tool infrastructure. Work drawing from
other fields with similar flexible modeling challenges e.g. other
engineering disciplines, architecture, and industrial design, are very


Prospective participants are invited to submit 2-5 page position papers on
any topic relevant to the dichotomy between modeling tools and more
free-form approaches. Papers posing flexible-modeling challenge problems
and papers describing solution approaches, in terms of the challenges they
address, are particularly welcome. Position papers must conform to the ICSE
2011 Format and Submission Guidelines and must be submitted through
CyberChairPro by the submission deadline noted below. Position papers will
be judged based on novelty, insightfulness, quality, relevance to the
workshop, and potential to spark discussion. Accepted position papers will
be posted on the workshop website. Depending on the number and quality of
submissions, a magazine or journal special issue may be organized

The submission URL is:

Workshop Format

The workshop will consist of a few, brief presentations and/or
demonstrations based on a subset of the accepted position papers, and
considerable discussion. The primary focus of the discussion will be to
elicit challenge problems and to propose promising directions for
addressing these challenges. To fuel this discussion, all participants will
be asked to come prepared with problems/challenges they believe to be
important, and whether they have already been "solved", partially-solved,
or remain unsolved.

Important Dates

Submission deadline:		Friday, January 21, 2011 Monday, February 7,
Notification of acceptance: 	Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Workshop: 			Sunday, May 22, 2011


      Harold Ossher, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA,
      ossher at us.ibm.com
      André van der Hoek, University of California, Irvine, USA,
      andre at ics.uci.edu
      Margaret-Anne Storey, University of Victoria, Canada, mstorey at uvic.ca
      John Grundy, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia,
      jgrundy at swinburne.edu.au
      Rachel Bellamy, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA,
      rachel at us.ibm.com
      Marian Petre, The Open University, UK, m.petre at open.ac.uk

Program Committee:

      Daniela Damian, University of Victoria, Canada
      Rob DeLine, Microsoft Research, USA
      Michael Desmond, IBM Research, USA
      Alexander Egyed, Johannes Kepler University, Austria
      Anthony Finkelstein, University College London, UK
      John Hosking, University of Auckland) New Zealand
      Chris Hundhausen, Washington State Univesity, USA
      Nicolas Lopez, University of California, Irvine, USA
      Frank Maurer, University of Calgary, Canada
      Gail Murphy, University of British Columbia, Canada
      Kumiyo Nakakoji, University of Tokyo and SRA Key Technology
      Laboratory, Japan
      Martin Robillard, McGill University, Canada
      Christoph Treude, University of Victoria, Canada
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