Research in Modelling Simulation and Collaboration Over the Web

Peter Hale

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Collaboration, simulation and modelling have been investigated to assist us in determining the requirements for future research in modelling of problems. Huhns [1] and Paternò [2] both explain that alternatives to the current approach to software development are required. This should allow translation from a model-based representation of software to the actual software. This could involve automatically producing software for a semantic web site from visual representations of the problem. The core of this modelling infrastructure would be automated generation of models written using World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards based languages and the visualisation of information represented in such W3C standard ways. We have examined modelling languages such as Alloy [3] examined by Wallace [4], in order to establish how modelling languages can be used as an interface to an End-User Programming environment.

Transformation from a model building environment to program code has been investigated by Gray et al [5]. MathML [6] can assist in this process by providing an open representation of functions as XML (eXtensible Markup Language). Functions entered by the model developer can then be translated to this open representation and translated to programming languages and/or read by programming languages. The representation of functions and information can sometimes be illustrated diagrammatically. Guibert et al [7] explain and expands on Smiths work with an example demonstrating how numbers fail to reveal the concept behind them. The example is a numerical representation of a triangle. This representation is ‘fregean’ because it does not show the concept of a triangle. Next to this is a diagram of the triangle that does show the concept. This is the theory behind our conversions to interactive SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and and tree based representations of information and functions [8][9].

An open standards web driven method of collaboration is required to make it possible for organisations and individuals to become more deeply involved in projects that are well coordinated using web technologies. Morris et al. [10] examine Interactivity and collaboration on the web. Aziz et al. [11] examine how open standards software can assist in an organisation's collaborative product development. This approach is outlined in Ciancarini et al. [12] that explains ways of designing a document-centric coordination application over the Internet. Nidamarthi et al. [13] explain how web based collaboration can aid the design process. Huang and Mak [14] evaluate issues in the development and implementation of web applications for product design and manufacture. Reed et al. [15] show how web based modelling and simulation can be used in the aircraft design process. Kim et al. [16] explain their approach to modelling and simulation. Zhang et al. [17] review Internet-based product information sharing and visualisation. Li [18] examines the role of web based services for distributed process planning optimization.

The intention is to further the research of others into the approach of web based collaboration, and use semantic web software and techniques to achieve this. The above research reinforced our view that this is a robust approach. Modelling collaborations based on these techniques would bring together experts in engineering, systems modelling, computing, and Human Computer Interaction.


[1] Huhns, M. (2001) Interaction-Oriented Software Development. International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, 11 259-279.
[2] Paternò, F. (2005) Model-based tools for pervasive usability. Interacting with Computers 17 (3), 291-315.
[3] Alloy http://alloy. mit. edu/
[4] Wallace C. (2003) Using Alloy in process modelling. Information and Software Technology, Vol. 45 (15), 1031-1043.
[5] W3C Math Home - - What is MathML?
[6] Gray J, Zhang J, Lin Y, Roychoudhury S, Wu H, Sudarsan R, Gokhale A, Neema S, Shi F, and Bapty T, Model-Driven Program Transformation of a Large Avionics Framework, 2004, Third International Conference on Generative Programming and Component Engineering GPCE.
[7] Guibert N, Girard P, Guittet L, (2004), Example-based Programming: a pertinent visual approach for learning to program, University of Poitiers, Proceedings of the working conference on Advanced visual interfaces - Pages: 358 - 361 - ISBN:1-58113-867-9.
[8] Spar - Tree based representation http://www.cems. uwe.
[9] Interactive Examples http://www.cems. uwe.
[10] Morris, S. , Neilson, I. , Charlton, C. , Little, J. (2001) Interactivity and collaboration on the WWW - is the ‘WWW shell’ sufficient?. Interacting with Computers, 13, 717-730.
[11] Aziz, H. , Gao, J. , Maropoulos, P. , Chewing, W. M. (2005) Open standard, open source and peer-to-peer tools and methods for collaborative product development. Computers in Industry, 56, 260-271.
[12] Ciancarini, P. & Rossi, D. & Vitali, F. (2001) Designing a document-centric coordination application over the Internet. Interacting with Computers, 13 677-693.
[13] Nidamarthi S. , Allen R. H. , Ram D. S. (2001) Observations from supplementing the traditional design process via Internet-based collaboration tools, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 14 (1), 95-107.
[14] Huang, G. Q. , Mak, K. L. (2001) Issues in the development and implementation of web applications for product design and manufacture. Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 14 (1), 125-135.
[15] Reed, J. A. , Follen, G. J. , Afjeh A. A. (2000) Improving the Aircraft Design Process Using Web-Based Modeling and Simulation. ACM Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation, 10 (1), 58-83.
[16] Kim Y. , Choi Y. , Bong Yoo S. (2001) Brokering and 3D collaborative viewing of mechanical part models on the Web, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 14 (1), 28-41.
[17] Zhang, S. , Weimen, S. , Hamada, G. (2004) A review of Internet-based product information sharing and visualization. Computers in Industry, 54, 1-15.
[18] Li, W. D. (2005) A Web-based service for distributed process planning optimization. Computers in Industry, 56, 272-288.


I am a Researcher in the final year of my PhD. I specialise in applying Semantic Web techniques. My current research is on a technique of ‘User Driven Modelling/Programming’. My intention is to enable non-programmers to create software from a user interface that allows them to model a particular problem or scenario. This involves a user entering information visually in the form of a tree diagram. I am attempting to develop ways of automatically translating this information into program code in a variety of computer languages. This is very important and useful for many employees that have insufficient time to learn programming languages. I am looking to research visualisation, and visualisation techniques to create a human computer interface that allows non experts to create software.

I am a member of the Institute for End User Computing (IEUC).

My Home Page is .


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