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CS405 Introduction to Empirical Modelling 2013/14

The version of the module to be taught in 2013-14 will have a different orientation from previous years. Though much of the material will be unchanged (see the links to resources for previous years below), it will be revised and reorganised to reflect a primary focus on Empirical Modelling as an alternative approach to software development.


The key themes of the module are summarised in the description of computer science taught modules (as of October 2013, the last time on which the module was taught). The way in which these themes are developed varies from year to year. Our focus this year is on the way in which Empirical Modelling helps to give new insights into the problems of software development and offers principles and tools that can contribute towards resolving them. For more details, consult the motivating questions that will frame each week of the module.

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 be deployed in the module. For 2013-14, 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) can be used in the assessed work submission.


For 2013-14, CS405 will run in Term 1, weeks 1-10:

  • Lecture: Monday 11am in CS101 (weeks 2-10 only).
  • Lab Session: Tuesday 12 noon - 2 pm in CS101/CS001
  • Lecture: Thursday 4 pm in CS104

A ten minute overview of CS405 Introduction to EM will be given at 16.30 in CS1.01 on Monday September 30th 2013 (week 1).

Tuesday lab sessions will normally be held in CS001, and will typically be preceded by a brief introductory talk at 12 noon in CS101.

Remember the module forum

Previous material 2005-6, 2006-7, 2007-8, 2008-9, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 is available for those interested.

See also the previous editions of the Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM (WEB-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 is a research prototype that will also be introduced in the labs and lectures. It has two topical variants: master (being used in the labs and coursework this year) and emile (to be used in conjunction with resources from 2012).


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 Tenth Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM (WEB-EM-10). This is worth 50% of the total credit for the module. The deadline for this submission (to be confirmed) is 12 noon on Tuesday 28th January 2014 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 20th November (week 8). Your proposal will be approved subject to suitability and originality. More details of the submission procedure can be found here. This will be further discussed by Matt Leeke in the 4-5pm session on Thursday 17th October and is also the subject of Lab 7 in Session 7.2. Your WEB-EM-10 proposals, together with feedback to guide your final submission, can be found here. Note that there is a standard template for your paper that is available for you to use with Word or Latex: this can be found together with further advice on writing your paper in the Author guidelines for final submission.

MSc students have an additional coursework exercise worth 10% of the total credit; this involves an exercise in documentation and comprehension in Term 1. You individual presentations using the EMPE and supporting documentation are to be submitted by 12 noon on Wednesday 6th November, prior to a group presentation in CS104 on Thursday 7th November. Further details of this assignment can be found here (see also Lab 4 in Session 4.2). General feedback on the overall team performance and the assessment procedure can be found here. Your individual marks and feedback will be sent to you by email.


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 2013-14 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. For more details of the June 2014 examination, to be held on 4th June at 2pm, consult the CS405 exam skeleton and revision guidance - together with the additional links to resources and some useful diagrams - as discussed in the exam revision session on Wednesday 14th May at 12 noon in CS1.01.

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 in 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.

Sessions and Resources



Making Construals

Programming Paradigms


The Development Process



Multi-agent development

Retrospect and Prospect