Research topics and research in progress

1. The earlier research

The past research topics and activities are well summarized in the name of the group itself, in the acronym MetaPHOR:

The outcomes of the reserach have been realised as two complete metaCASE tools, MetaEdit and MetaEdit+, that are currently marketed by a spin-off company MetaCase Consulting, as well as five doctoral thesis and several other publications.

2. The current research

Currently the research in MetaPHOR group is conducted on several fields. The research is still based mostly on our previous work but some new approaches have been adopted as well.

2.1. Reuse and Components

The research on reuse and component issues is carried out in RAMSES project within the MetaPHOR group. RAMSES is the acronym of Reuse in Advanced Method Support Environments. The goal of this project is to enhance support for component reuse in a metaCASE environment, namely MetaEdit+. Differ from normal software reuse, component reuse in a metaCASE environment incorporates reuse into both system development process and system development methodology construction process, and the reusable components thereby include design artifacts, source code, and metamodels of methodologies as well. In this project, we will follow the basic reuse process, i.e. abstraction, selection, specialization, integration, and maintenance, to study the strategies that support systematic reuse and to develop and evaluate the reuse support facilities in an empirical way.

2.2. Process Engineering and Process Support

The goal of this research area is to develop a process engineering and process support architecture for user-tailorable process modelling and human-oriented process enactment. The work is conducted under three sub-topics: process metamodelling, process modelling and process enactment.

The research currently includes two positions. Firstly, theoretical and constructive studies are conducted at the University of Jyväskylä in order to develop process support for requirements engineering and systems design. Emphasis of this research is on the theory of process metamodelling and its application for the adaptation of process approaches in a metaCASE environment. Secondly, an empirical and constructive study is conducted at Nokia Telecommunications/PMR unit in order to develop process support for software design and implementation. This study investigates the various aspects of contextual adaptation and evolution of process modelling and process support in a software engineering project.

Research Page

2.3. Hypertext: Model Linking and Annotation

Our goal is to examine how hypertext can be used to support MetaCASE environment. The basic goal is to integrate information in both vertical and horizontal directions, while covering information in both type and instance levels. This will provide traceability across designs and its rationale. Moreover, we consider what hypertext navigation mechanisms can support complex design tasks such as finding and navigating between reusable components.

2.4. Information Visualization 

The research focuses on supporting systems designer’s understanding of complex information spaces like CASE environments, which usually consists lots of information in many different levels of abstraction and interlinked documents. A designer can use this vast amount of tightly coupled information efficiently only if it is presented based on his or her needs and cognitive capabilities.

It is assumed that advanced visualisation techniques help understanding complex relationships between information elements and thus reduce cognitive overload in all user groups or roles. Especially casual visitors and novice users can maintain a sense of location and direction by getting assistance what information exists within a system and how they connect to each other. In fact, any individual involved in information system’s design could benefit from getting an overview of all relevant documents.

Research Page

MetaPHOR Home Page
Pages created by Steven Kelly. Last updates: September 15, 1999 by Risto Pohjonen and September 27, 1999 by Jouni Huotari.