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First assignment for MSc students 2012-13

There is an additional assignment for the MSc students studying CS405. This assignment is worth 10% of the total credit for the module: the rest of the credit to be made up by the principal coursework exercise (a submission to WEB-EM-9 worth 50%) and the written examination in Term 3 (worth 40%). The purpose of the assignment is to help the MSc students in preparing their submissions for WEB-EM-9. Though MEng students are not obliged to carry out this assignment, they are encouraged to study the models themselves, possibly in collaboration with the MSc students, as this may also be beneficial where their submissions to WEB-EM-9 are concerned.

The assignment is an exercise in construal comprehension and exposition to be carried out as groupwork. As set out in the table below, you have been allocated an existing construal developed in EDEN to study, which is presented in the Empirical Modelling presentation environment ("EMPE") together with a short introductory slide. Your task will be to develop your understanding of the construal through identifying and documenting the observables, dependencies and agency in your allocated model, and to explain and demonstrate your findings in a short presentation of the construal that makes use of the EMPE. Your EMPE presentation will be assessed in a 10 minute group oral presentation to take place from 4pm to 5pm in CS0.04 on Thursday of Week 6 (8th November). You will make a BOSS submission of the resources you prepare for this presentation by 12 noon on Wednesday 7th November.

Student ID Forename Surname Model  
  David Walton cricketscoringPether2006  
  Adam Riley nimLeekeBeynon2012  
  Hoang Long Tran nimLeekeBeynon2012  
  Clare Donnelly vimodesBeynon2006  
  Judy Palimonka vimodesBeynon2006  


In order to tackle the comprehension exercise, you will first need to develop a basic understanding of the principal EDEN notations (Eden, Scout and Donald) covered in the forthcoming EM labs and lectures. You will also be given additional documentation, guidance and specific tools to assist you in your task. The first of these is the "symbol info" tool that will help you to extract and record observables in the given models (as introduced in Lab 2). [Note that in order to use the symbol info tool to record observables and dependencies you will need to be working in a directory in which you have write permission.] Since not all the features you will encounter in the models are covered explicitly in the lab sessions, and some are not prominently documented, you should keep in close touch with the module tutors and organisers by contacting them in person or posting your questions on the module Forum.

Further guidance on various aspects of your exercise are given below. Lab 2 is a useful guide to how an environment for construal can be effectively configured.

Using the Empirical Modelling Presentation Environment (EMPE): Details of how to use the EMPE are available from this link on the module website. As explained there, you will find many examples of the use of the EMPE in the public directory: /dcs/emp/empublic/teaching/cs405/UsingEMPE. These include stubs for the presentations that you have to develop in connection with your comprehension exercise. Each construal has an individual subdirectory in which you will find a run.eden file that when executed using tkeden will generate a stub for your EMPE presentation. In each presentation you will find 9 slides preceding the opening slide: these give you general guidance on how to use the EMPE which you should study carefully. Note in particular the crucial role of the 'Copy definitions' button in recording your work so that it persists after the EMPE environment is closed. You should also be aware of the benefits of the 'Show tkeden' feature which gives access to the real Eden Input Window and the output window in which the results of queries can be inspected.

Additional resources: Each of the construals you study has a different character, and is best understood in conjunction with additional resources (these include specialised documentation of models and notations, EM papers and links to related models etc). Details of such resources are given here.

The symbol info tool: Within the /dcs/emp/empublic/teaching/cs405/UsingEMPE directory, you can find the syminfoBeynon2011 subdirectory. Executing the run.eden file within this subdirectory using tkeden launches a basic tool that can be used to explore and record observables within any model that has been loaded into the same environment. Instructions on how to use this tool are given in the README within this subdirectory. (For convenience, they are also presented here.)

Identifying observables: In order to use the symbol info tool effectively, you need to be able to identify observables in your construal. Once some initial observables have been recorded, you can expect to find others by consulting their definitions, but it is also helpful to use constructs such as ?v; in Eden to find out how the observable v is defined and what other observables depend upon it. You can also study a construal by viewing the Eden / Donald / Scout definitions via the View menu on the EDEN Input Window, and by inspecting the History of your interaction. Note that viewing operations of this nature are best carried out with the basic construal loaded without the EMPE wrapper in place, since the EMPE itself generates so many additional observables. The symbol info tool only records the Eden definitions of observables, but it is useful to be aware of the form that definitions in other definitive notations take when translated into Eden. For this purpose, you will find it helpful to note that ?v; operates in Eden, Scout and Eddi, and that conventions of the following kind apply to other translations: door/hinge in %donald becomes _door_hinge in Eden, Scout windows and Eddi tables are recorded in long EDEN lists of a special format, and scoreboardwin.content in %angel becomes scoreboardwin_content in Eden.

The Dependency Modelling Tool (DMT): The DMT is a tool for graphical display of dependencies between EDEN observables that was devised by Allan Wong in 2003 (see dmtWong2003). The outputdefns.e file is a small file of Eden commands that can be used with the symbol info tool to output the definitions of observables that you have recorded. This will enable you to develop a visualisation of dependencies in your construal using the DMT .

For your assignment, following the guidance given in Lab 6 from 2011-12, you will be expected to produce a BOSS submission and a short EMPE presentation suitable for projection from the Linux machine in CS1.04 together with a handout of not more than 5 A4 pages that demonstrates your understanding of the observables, dependencies and agency within your allocated construal.