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Analyzing, capturing and taming software change

English title Analyzing, capturing and taming software change
Applicant Nierstrasz Oscar
Number 113342
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Institut für Informatik Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Information Technology
Start/End 01.10.2006 - 30.09.2008
Approved amount 298'512.00
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Keywords (8)

Software evolution; change management; reflection; meta-programming; reverse engineering; programming language design; change impact analysis; first-class contexts.

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Complex software systems must change in order to keep pace with changing needs and requirements. Curiously, however, modern programming languages and environments provide little support for the fact that the systems being built will inevitably change. In fact, more emphasis is placed on mechanisms to enforce consistency and to limit the effects of change than on enabling change.

This research proposal targets the following questions:
How can we encapsulate change in order to better specify, manipulate and control it?
How can we manage the scope of change, especially in a running system?
How can we assess the impact of change in a complex system?
How can we exploit change to reveal implicit trends and emergent software artifacts?

To answer these questions, we propose to (i) introduce programming language constructs to package incremental modifications to complex software systems, and use these constructs to express both low-level(syntactic) and high-level (semantic) changes, (ii) develop a scoped approach to behavioural and structural reflection in which the visibility of reflective features, and thus of changes, can be controlled at a fine level of granularity, (iii) explore techniques for tracing the impact of changes back to their source by monitoring the flow of object references in a running system, and (iv) analyze the evolution of the software and related artifacts to identify higher-level semantic entities.

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Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
121594 Bringing Models Closer to Code 01.10.2008 Project funding
105091 A Unified Approach to Composition and Extensibility 01.10.2004 Project funding