ECMFA 2011 University of Birmingham

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Seventh European Conference on Modelling Foundations and Applications



We are glad to announce the keynote speeches of  Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Schäfer (Senior Research Program Manager at Vulcan Inc.) and Steve Cook  (Software Architect, Microsoft Visual Studio; Member of Architecture Board and Board of Directors, Object Management Group).




Building Advanced Mechatronic Systems


Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Schäfer
Universität Paderborn
Institut für Informatik
Warburger Str. 100
33098 Paderborn



Mechatronics is the engineering discipline concerned with the construction of  systems incorporating mechanical, electronical and information technology components. The word mechatronics as a blend of mechanics and electronics has already been invented 40 years ago by a Japanese company. Then, mechatronics just meant complementing mechanical parts with some electronicalunits, a typical  example being a photo camera.  Today, mechatronics is an area combining a large number of advanced techniques from engineering, in particular sensor and actuator technology, with computer science methods.

Typical examples of mechatronic systems are automotive applications, e.g. advanced braking systems, fly/steer-by-wire or active suspension techniques, but also DVD-players or washing machines. Mechatronic systems are characterised by a combination of basic mechanical devices with a processing unit monitoring and controlling it via a number of actuators and sensors. This leadsto massive improvements in product performance and flexibility. The introduction of mechatronics as a tight integration of mechanical, electronical and information-driven units allowed for turning conventionally designed mechanical components intosmart devices. The significance of mechatronics is today also reflected inuniversity education: mechatronics has become a degree on its own, and is at many places not merely taught by one area but jointly by all three. The subject managed to cross the traditional boundaries between engineering and computer science. 

Today we see the first steps in the emergence of the next generation of mechatronic systems. While ''intelligence'' in the behaviour has so far always been achieved by gathering information (and reacting to it) from the one single machine, the usage and retrieval of information in the future will be characterised by an exchange of information between different machines. This can for instance already be seen in the automotive and rail domain:

Intelligent lighting systems combine information about their environment obtained from their own sensors with those collected by other cars. In thePaderborn rail system shuttles autonomously form convoys as to reduce air resistance andoptimise energy consumption.  This is a general trend: The smart devices of today's mechatronic systems willturn into ''populations'' of smart devices, exchanging information for optimising their global behaviour as well as possibly competing for limited resources. This movement imposes in particular new challenges on the computer science side in mechatronics.  The mechatronic systems of the future will be characterised by the following properties:

  • high degree of concurrency: Systems will consist of a large number of autonomous components, exchanging information while running in parallel. Components may form cluster to collaborate on a common goal but may also compete as to optimise their own aims.

  • decentralisation: Due to the high degree of concurrency and distribution systems cannot be centrally observed and as a consequence not centrally controlled.

  • Self-Coordination: As a result of the previous two points, advanced mechatronic systems will largely have to rely on principles of self-coordination.

Results presented in this paper and the talk evolved during many discussions with many of my Ph. D. students and my colleagues Heike Wehrheim and Holger Giese (now with the HPI at Potsdam university) to whom I am indebted.


Dr. Wilhelm Schäfer is full Professor and chair, head of Software Engineering Group, Department of Computer Science, University of Paderborn, Chair of the International Graduate School of the University of Paderborn, Chair of the Paderborn Institute for Advanced Studies in Computer Science and Engineering (PACE),and Vice President at the University of Paderborn.


UML: Past, Present and Future


Steve Cook
Software Architect,
Microsoft Visual Studio;
Member of Architecture Board and Board of Directors, Object Management Group



It is 14 years since the release of version 1.0 of the Unified Modeling Language (UML).  Over that period it has undergone regular revision, and will soon be at version 2.4.  This talk will review the history of UML, and discuss some of the dilemmas and contradictions inherent in its design, such as: What are its main value propositions? What is its relationship to Domain Specific Languages? What are its domains of applicability?  What kind of semantics does it have?  A roadmap for future development of UML and related modelling technologies will be presented, with suggestions about how UML can add value for future software development.


Steve Cook is a software architect for Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate Edition, with a focus on modelling and UML tools.  He represents Microsoft at the Object Management Group, where he is a member of the OMG Board of Directors and Architecture Board, and co-chaired the UML 2.4 Revision Task Force. Before joining Microsoft he was a Distinguished Engineer at IBM, and a member of the IBM Academy of Technology. He was an author of UML versions 1 and 2.  He has worked in the IT industry for more than 30 years, as architect, programmer, author, consultant and teacher. He is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, and holds an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from De Montford University.