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Formal Support for the Transformation of Software Models

Project Description

A typical characteristic of the software lifecycle is a gradual evolution from abstract, declarative models to concrete, computational ones. One of the major problems in the development of software systems is a lack of adequate support for evolution, i.e. evolution throughout the lifecycle as well as evolution in time. Consecutive models are hardly related, so that in practice various phases of the development cycle are only marginally or not at all worked out. Moreover, a modification of a software system often requires manual changes to all of the models in the consecutive phases. Therefore, in practice, modifications are often carried through only at the lowest levels and not documented properly. This results in so-called legacy systems, that embody complex functionality, but have lost their overall structure, making it impossible to maintain them in a cost-efficient way.

This FWO project aims to deliver formalisms, models and tool prototypes for managing software evolution in the vertical (lifecycle) and horizontal (time) dimension.

Two PhD Positions in Model Driven Software Evolution

To this particular extent, the University of Antwerp extends its staff with two PhD researchers for a period of four years. Supported by an enthousiastic team and network one will work on a thesis covering the following topics:
  1. Languages and Language Profiles
    1. Behavioral modeling languages (live sequence charts, statecharts, action semantics, design by contract, ...)
    2. Platform models (distribution, persistence, access control and transaction semantics)
  2. Transformations
    1. Stepwise vertical transformation (modularization, parameterization, reuse, specialization, ...)
    2. Propagation of horizontal transformations throughout vertically related models
    3. Theoretical support for new traceability techniques in models of computation such as petri-nets, process algebras and graph rewriting systems
We intend to validate these topics against a number of large scale case studies. Since tools are our means and not our goal, we promote fluid integration with MOF compliant UML tools, code generators and constraint checkers. Platform independence will be validated by deploying on at least two middleware platforms (J2EE variants and .NET). Models and code of middleware systems are available from previous research efforts in collaboration with industry partners. They will be aligned with the new languages and transformation mechanisms and become subject to a number of evolution scenario's.


LORE and FOTS are research groups applying expertise from reverse engineering, object-oriented metamodeling and graph transformation in the area of software evolution. In this project, the University of Antwerp collaborates with two research group from the University of Leuven: SOM and DISTRINET. These groups supply their expertise in conceptual modeling and middleware. All four groups will work on common case studies and align their theories (graph transformation, design by contract, ...) and tools (MoTMoT, EROOS, ...).

More information about LORE and FOTS can be found on:

The research in this project must be concluded with the attainment of a PhD degree in computer science. We offer a netto salary of 1380 euro per month. The department of mathematics and computer science of the University of Antwerp is located in a residential part of the city Antwerpen and is near public transportation and parks.


Candidates should be graduated with honors in academic computer science. A master thesis and/or practical experience related to the cornerstones of the project (modeling languages, transformations and evolution) can be used to illustrate the interest and expertise of the candidate. Fluent communication in either Dutch or English is required.

Information and Application

If you are interested in this position, please send your application letter (preferably in PDF and TXT) including a detailed curriculum vitae and the names of three persons able to provide references in support of your application to Serge Demeyer or by surface mail to
Prof. Dr. Serge Demeyer
Universiteit Antwerpen (UA)
Departement Wiskunde & Informatica (WISINF)
Campus Middelheim, Gebouw G,
Middelheimlaan 1,
Please include at least the following information in your curriculum vitae:
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