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052 - Interactive Situation Models for Information Systems Development


An interactive situation model (ISM) is a new kind of artefact to support information systems development. An ISM is particularly well-suited for use in the early stages of the development process. Computer-based ISMs can be constructed using Empirical Modelling (EM) principles and software tools that have been developed at Warwick. The developer construes system behaviour in terms of three key fundamental concepts of EM: observables, dependencies and agents. Observation-oriented analysis is used to formulate an explanatory account of system using a novel notation called LSD. A special-purpose software tool, such as the EDEN interpreter, is used to develop an associated ISM. In the environment supplied by this ISM, the developer can explore the implications of different contexts and scenarios for interaction between agents.

This paper outlines the principles of EM, and illustrates the ISM concept with reference to a digital watch and statechart simulation. The use of ISMs as a means of shaping state and agent interaction is compared and contrasted with the use of statecharts. Recently published work by Horrocks on the application of statecharts to the design of user-interface software provides the context for this study. A refinement of Horrocks's event-state-action paradigm for user-interface specification and implementation is proposed.



Here is a link to a Web Eden variant of the digital watch model discussed in this paper.


The conference presentation for this paper was given by Jaratsri Rungrattanaubol