Title page for ETD etd-11122004-113829

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Judson Miller, Sheena
Author's Email Address sjudson@lsu.edu
URN etd-11122004-113829
Title Pattern-Based Model Transformation: A Metamodel-Based Approach to Model Evolution
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Doris L. Carver Committee Chair
Donald Kraft Committee Member
Gestur Olafsson Committee Member
Jianhua Chen Committee Member
Xin-Bue Liang Dean's Representative
  • model evolution
  • model-driven architecture
  • unified model language (uml)
  • model transformation
  • design patterns
Date of Defense 2004-11-10
Availability unrestricted
Software systems continue to grow in complexity at a rapid pace, creating systems that are complex to build and evolve. The problems that accompany changes in requirements, system upgrades, and error correction produce a desire for software evolution methods that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of adapting complex software to changes. As software systems evolve, design models must be modified to accommodate the required changes. Techniques that control the changes to models in a systematic manner are a key to model evolution. A process that improves the ability to effectively modify a design, thereby enhancing design qualities, supports the need for improved model evolution techniques.

Design patterns are common forms of reusable design experiences. They offer solutions to common design problems, reduce complexity by naming and defining abstractions, and provide a foundation for building reusable software. Well-known pattern solutions are expressed in a natural language as fragments of code which are sometimes difficult to understand and implement by software modelers. With increased focus on development of model-driven approaches, rigorous descriptions of design patterns that capture solutions during design instead of implementation are needed.

This research defines an approach for the transformation of models that supports controlled model evolution. More precisely, a process for capturing design patterns in UML class diagrams is defined. This process involves defining a metamodel-level representation which specifies how a software developer can introduce design patterns into existing design models.

We defined transformation patterns as an extension of the UML metamodel to characterize source and target model elements. The transformation pattern consists of specialized metamodel elements that specify the structure of source and target metamodels. Transformation patterns were specified for the Abstract Factory, Bridge and Visitor design patterns to show how the model-level transformations can be perform on patterns that represent different functionalities.

We developed an action language to specify constructs which add, delete, retrieve and connect model elements. We used the constructs of the action language to define transformation specifications that implement model-level transformations on class diagrams. To determine the potential of this approach we manually implemented the transformation specification on a UML design.

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