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Förslaget inkom 2011-08-15

Master of Science Thesis: Modeling Software Development Tool Chains

Today, developers of complex software systems, such as embedded systems in power plants, airplanes or the car are using a number of tools. Ideally, all the required tools are integrated in a tool chain. Often, however, this is not the case, and tool chains are being built ad-hoc, e.g. as a number of scripts. We would like to systematize this process and describe tool chains in form of graphical models.

At KTH we have recently developed a graphical modeling language (TIL - Tool Integration Language) for modeling tool chains. We now use this language to model a number of tool chains, e.g. as the two tool chains below. TIL is a domain specific language, it is targeted towards communicating, analyzing and constructing tool chains (see the paper [1]). It is even possible to use a TIL specification for automatically generating implementations of tool chains.

For the master thesis, we envision modeling several industrial tool chains (supplied by our partner) using TIL, to describe the tool chain more formally, to understand the needs and requirements of such a tool chain and to propose possible solutions. In the following some concrete milestones for the master thesis:

1. Elicit the requirements for such a tool chain based on the current and future/desired working practice of our industrial partners. This would require that the master student will conduct either a dedicated internal survey at the company or will base it on existing survey results.
2. Express the tool chain in TIL, provide feedback for the TIL language design and extend TIL where necessary:
2.1 To model the tool chain using TIL, and to analyze it. This includes a specification of the workflow/process, tool metamodels, desirable interactions between tools, desirable data exchange between tools, tracelinks between data
2.2 To formulate proposals for TIL updates and motivate them by an industrial need
2.3 To extend TIL and its generators regarding a (subset of the) proposals
3. Use existing generators to produce Java code for (a selected subset of) tool adapters, and control logic according to the TIL models developed in step 2.
4. Enrich the output of the generators with manual implementation in Java. This involves mainly the development of tool adapters for a subset of the tools in the tool chain. The tool adapters are based on the APIs and fileformats of the tools.

You bring:
Availability October 2011 - February/March 2012
General understanding of software development processes and experience with several software or hardware development tools
Experience with Java and Eclipse of at least 2 years
Experience with the development of web services
Understanding of model-driven development or domain specific languages is a plus
Excellent English communication skills

We offer:
Possibility to work at our department or from home, at least one meeting per week with your academic advisor
Payment for the master thesis is available
Experience in an industrial research project

[1]: Matthias Biehl, Jad El-Khoury, Frédéric Loiret, Martin Törngren. A Domain Specific Language for Generating Tool Integration Solutions. 4th Workshop on Model-Driven Tool & Process Integration (MDTPI2011) at the European Conference on Modelling Foundations and Applications (ECMFA 2011), June 2011, Birmingham, UK, Online: http://www.md.kth.se/~biehl/files/papers/toolintlang2011.pdf


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