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CS405 Introduction to Empirical Modelling 2012/13


The key themes of the module are summarised in the description of computer science taught modules. The way in which these themes are developed varies from year to year, as can be seen from the previous CS405 webpages to which links are given below. Much of the material by way of papers and models discussed in the module is drawn from the Empirical Modelling website. Most of the models in the projects archive were developed using variants of the well-established EDEN interpreter, as documented under the Software link on the "Empirical Modelling" tab top left of this page. A web-enabled variant of the EDEN interpreter ("JS-EDEN") closely linked to JavaScript, that has been developed by Tim Monks and Nick Pope, will also deployed in the module. For 2012-13, both EDEN and JS-EDEN will be used in the labs and lectures. JS-EDEN opens up new horizons for Empirical Modelling and promises to address issues that have proved problematic with EDEN. Some familiarity with EDEN is essential for understanding the material to be presented and examined in the module. Either JS-EDEN, or EDEN, or other tools to be introduced in passing in the module (such as Nick Pope's CADENCE interpreter which featured in CS405 in recent years) can be used in the assessed work submission.


For 2012-13, CS405 will run in Term 1, weeks 1-10:

  • Lecture: Monday 1pm in CS104
  • Lab Session: Tuesday 12 noon - 2 pm in CS104/CS001
  • Lecture: Thursday 4 pm in CS104

Remember the module forum

Previous material 2005-6, 2006-7, 2007-8, 2008-9, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 is available for those interested. The current CS405 page is here.

See also:
The First Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM
The Second Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM
The Third Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM
The Fourth Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM
The Fifth Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM

Download the tkeden tool (version 1.73 is now the default on the departmental Linux system and is available for download for Windows and Mac from the EM website). This tool will be extensively used for demonstration purposes in lectures and in the lab sessions. The JS-EDEN interpreter exists as a research prototype that will also be introduced in the labs and lectures.


The principal component of coursework, and the only component for MEng students, takes the form of a submission of a paper and an accompanying modelling exercise to the Ninth Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM (WEB-EM-9). This is worth 50% of the total credit for the module. The deadline for this submission (to be confirmed) is 12 noon on Tuesday 29th January 2012 in week 4 of Term 2. You will be able to choose the theme of your submission subject to approval of an abstract and proposal for an associated modelling study to be submitted by 12 noon on Wednesday 21st November (week 8). Your proposal will be approved subject to suitability and originality. Full details of the submission procedure can be found here. A pdf file containing all the abstracts submitted so far can be found here together with feedback. The marks for the WEB-EM-9 have now been returned. General feedback can be found here. If you would like additional individual feedback, please consult WMB directly.

MSc students have an additional coursework exercise worth 10% of the total credit; this involves an exercise in documentation and comprehension in Term 1. Details of this assignment, which entails submission at a 'mini-conference' on Thursday November 8th at 4pm, can be found here.


The examination contributes 50% to the overall mark for the module for MEng students and 40% for MSc students. The format of the CS405 exam for 2012-13 will be unchanged: Question 1 is a compulsory question, and you must answer two questions out of the other four. You will have 3 hours to answer the paper. Previous exam papers are available online from the Warwick Exam Papers archive.

Further details of lectures and laboratory sessions will be presented here as the module is delivered. Note that some background skill in using Unix / Linux will be helpful in managing the resources to be introduced the labs.

For background information on UNIX, please consult Chapter 4 Getting Started in the online version of "Introducing UNIX and Linux", and other relevant teaching material.

A ten minute overview of CS405 Introduction to EM will be given at 16.30 in CS1.01 on Monday October 1st 2012.

NB The first session for the module took place on Tuesday 2nd October at 12 noon. An introductory lecture in CS104 was followed by a walkthrough of the Lab 1 session in MS03. Apologies for this late change of plan!


Session 0 - Introducing "Introduction to Empirical Modelling" (Monday 1st October)
(PDF document) Slides from the session

Session 1 - Introducing Empirical Modelling (Tuesday 2nd October)
LINKAbout EM - links to resources
(PDF document) Orientation on EM: Some challenging questions relating to computer use

Session 2 - Programs and construals (Thursday 4th October)
(PDF document) EM as a broader view of computing
LINKAn introduction to the JUGS model in the JS-EDEN presentation environment

Session 3 - More about construals (Monday 8th October)
LINKFrom Programs to Construals: this can be replayed as explained here
(PDF document) Construals: Gooding and Faraday
LINKAdventures in a lift: a practical application of construal

Session 4 - From construal to algorithm (Thursday 11th October)
LINKThe semantics of construals: based on EM model cabinetdigitBeynon1990 - accessible via Web EDEN here
LINKThe EMPE presentation prescabinetdigitBeynon2007 can be replayed by using tkeden as explained here
(PDF document) From Construal to Algorithm (and back again)
LINKDeriving an algorithm from a construal: oxoGardner1999

Session 5 - Summary of Orientation Coursework (Monday 15th October)
LINKIntroducing the WEB-EM-9 coursework assignment
LINKProvisional details of 1st MSc assignment, as set out here
(PDF document) Summary of orientation
LINKWorkshop on constructionism - a brief intro

Session 6 - Preparing for coursework for MSc students (Thursday 19th October)

Session 7 - Guest lecture (Monday 22nd October)
(PDF document) A guest lecture from Tim Monks about JS-EDEN: "Supporting Empirical Modelling in the Browser"

Session 8 - Gallery of models (Thursday 25th October)

LINKHeap sort model - thinking about algorithms
LINKHunt the Wumpus - reasoning about environments
LINKDigital watch and statecharts - modelling physical artifacts
LINKAnt navigation - modelling complex behaviours
LINKPresentation environment - describing and documenting a model
LINKTic Tac Toe - simple games and incrementally building a model
LINKCar parking simulators - other forms of interaction and user interface
LINKClayton tunnel accident scenario - exploring and experimenting

(For further examples of model submissions for WEB-EM, see the notes on Lab 7 below.)

Sessions 9 and 10 - "Realising Software Development as a Lived Experience" (Monday 29th October and Thursday 1st November)

LINKAn essay on the theme of EM and software development presented at the Onward2012 conference at SPLASH'2012.
This presentation can be accessed using the JS-EDEN interpreter (emile version) on the Chrome browser by loading a model of the essay: include("models/Onward2012/run.js-e");

Session 11 - EM and Learning (Monday 5th November)
(PDF document) A brief half-term review of principles of modelling with definitive scripts using traditional EDEN
(PDF document)The Onion metaphor: relating experience to knowledge

Session 12 - Presentations for the Construal Comprehension Exercise (Thursday 8th November)

Session 13 - More about EM and learning (Monday 12th November)
LINKLinks to thesis by Roe and Harfield, and to the EMILE summer project.
LINKLinks to other resources on EM and learning.

Session 14 - More about constructivism - in two senses of the word - and constructionism (Thursday 15th November)
LINKRoles for construction of "the common world"
A presentation relating to Latour's "promises of constructivism" can be accessed using the JS-EDEN interpreter (emile version) on Chrome by loading the model: include("models/PromOfConst/run.js-e");

(This will set up a presentation which has 16 slides - each corresponding to a 'paragraph': Slides 1-5 expose Latour's Five 'Promises', as presented by him, sentence by sentence - use the 'Reading paragraph ... ' / 'Reading sentence ... ' buttons to navigate through these. Slide 6 is a header slide, and Slides 7-16 give some cryptic note-form commentary on the five guarantees - 2 slides each - that you can access by pressing 'Next Slide' once to change the display mode then navigate as before.)

Session 15 - Illustrating construction (Monday 19th November)
(PDF Document) Lecture slides: Rethinking programming: modelling heapsort as a case study
(PDF Document) Supplementary slides: Heapsort auxiliary slides
(PDF Document) Handout: Heapsort model interactions (use in conjunction with /dcs/acad/wmb/public/projects/misc/HEAPSORT/HEAPSORT2011)
LINKOnline model: heapsortBeynon2008 (now updated as /dcs/acad/wmb/public/projects/misc/HEAPSORT/HEAPSORT2011)

Session 16 - Introducing the LSD notation (Tuesday 20th November)
(PDF document) Handout: LSD for domain analysis and description (EM for concurrency Lecture 4)
(PDF document) Handout: Principles for developing an LSD account
LINKLSD examples online: with special reference to railway station arrival-departure protocol, vehicle cruise controller, telephone
(PDF document) Lecture slides: The LSD notation and the ODA framework

Session 17 - Concurrency from an EM perspective (Monday 26th November)
LINKEM and concurrency: an overview
(PDF document) Lecture slides: A Perspective on Concurrent Systems and Views of Agency

Session 18- LSD accounts of railway accident scenarios (Tuesday 27th November)
(PDF document) Handout: Railway Disaster exercises: Tamworth, the Clayton Tunnel, and Abermule
LINK Online model: claytontunnelChanHarfield2005

Session 19 - Semantics and Animation of LSD - introducing the ADM (Thursday 29th November)
(PDF document) Handout: The semantic challenges of LSD
LINKLSD examples: Animating the train arrival-departure account (see ~wmb/public/projects/simulations/train)
(PDF document) Handout: The Abstract Definitive Machine (ADM) (EM for concurrency Lecture 7)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: The ADM

Session 20 - Human Computing (Monday 3rd December)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Human Computing
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Music and semantic relations
LINKAn EM model of Schubert's setting of Goethe's ballad Erlkoenig

Session 21 - Concluding session (Thursday 6th December)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Visual semantic relations
(PDF document) Lecture slides: EM: the sw development cycle and visual formalisms (cf. Lecture 6 on Concurrency)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Contrasting traditional and EM sw development models
LINKFeedback on the WEB-EM-9 abstract submissions
(PDF document) Handout: Music and semantics
(PDF document) Handout: CS405 exam skeleton and revision guidance (revised April 2013)
(PDF document) Handout: Some useful diagrams


  • Lab 1 - An introductory tutorial (Tuesday 2nd October)
  • Lab 2 - Construal comprehension: understanding the Lift model (Tuesday 9th October)
  • Lab 3 - Introducing the EDEN interpreter (Tuesday 16th October)
    Handout: Introduction to the Constructionism 2010 workshop
  • Lab 4 - Introduction to JS-EDEN (Tuesday 23rd October)
  • Lab 5 - More on JS-EDEN: converting EDEN models to JS-EDEN (Tuesday 30th October)
  • Lab 6 - Implementing the DMT in traditional EDEN (Tuesday 6th November)
  • Lab 7 - Preparing for the coursework assignment: guidance and individual consultations (Tuesday 13th Novenber)
    • Further notes on choosing your coursework
    • For the first draft of a Rough Guide to JsEden load the JSeden presentation environment (include("jspe.jse");), and enter include("models/cs405/JsEdenRoughGuide.js-e");
    • For further examples of WEB-EM models, see the directory /dcs/emp/empublic/teaching/ExampleModels
  • Lab 8 - Practical exercises in giving LSD accounts (Thursday 22nd November)
    LINKIn this session, we discussed LSD accounts of making a bus journey from campus to Coventry, and buying a drink at a bar.
    Sample sketches for an LSD account of the bus journey scenario were prepared by SBR and WMB. See Session 16 for more resources.
  • Lab 9 - Tools for Empirical Modelling (Tuesday 4th December)
    This lab introduces additional resources for understanding the nature and aspirations for Empirical Modelling tools. These will be helpful in practical work with EDEN and JsEden. They will also be relevant to the theme of one of the four optional examination questions.