Research objectives and content
Objectives: a i)establish the technical basis of collaboration in regards to the development of an object oriented development environment based on formal underpinnings.
ii)establish technical details of the formalisms involved and begin to develop the formal relationships between them.
b) The proposed VF has asked to use our previous work on formal methods in the building of an environment intended for real industrial use. This is an important step forward for us in the industrialisation of our work. A significant portion of software engineering activities consist of the construction of real time systems, which have widespread industrial application. The advent of object oriented methods opened up new possibilities for the development of high quality software systems. Currently available object oriented methods fail to adequately reflect the nature of real time systems. Moreover, they lack a formal base - a fundamental feature in safe, modern software development methods. They do not go beyond helping, often in a very efficient way, with the development and understanding of methodologies do not provide the appropriate mechanisms to make inferences about the behaviour of the system under development, or to enable the user to prove the validity of certain assertions or the invariance of particular properties.
Constructing a development system with appropriate inference and proof facilities is a fundamental step in the evolution from craftsmanship to software engineering. Our main goal is the definition of a new methodology, as well as a prototype of its support system, for the development of concurrent real time systems based on (and normally hiding from the users' view) a formal level which provides software engineers with better control over the process and the product being developed. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The candidate will teach a Masters degree level course on the methodology of measurement and testing for software engineers which has been tried and tested at Imperial College over the past 2 years. This is a new area of teaching for the host institution. The course notes and materials will then be available to use at the host institution on the departure of the candidate. Furthermore, the host institution will benefit from the close collaboration possible with staff and students there on reserach topics of mutual interest, of which there are many. This reserach is at a particularly delicate stage, as it is now gaining some widespread recognition in Europe and elsewhere. The candidate and the responsible person at the host institution (Prof J Fiadeiro) are also intending to write a textbook on the use of Category Theory in Object Oriented system development in order to fill a perceived vacuum in the area. This will be a longlasting training contribution to the whole community and not simply the host instituiton.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The host institution has lonstanding links with industry (ie, OBLOG Software and CAIXA SI). The candidate has some links with these companies through earlier projects. The candidate has numerous links with companies across Europe through previous European (both ESPRIT and EUREKA Programmes) and UK projects. These companies include some of the major players in the European IT domain. The long term objective behind the collaboration is to buid software development environments which are really usable by industry but which also have proper scientific and engineering underpinnings.