Rigorouse Methods in Software Engineering

RSE focuses on the application of rigorous and formal methods for the production of reliable software, on process modeling and analysis as well as on Model-based Systems Engineering.

Rigorous and formal methods

Although our everyday activities depend ever more on software-intensive systems, the security-critical, distributed, heterogeneous, dynamic and often unpredictable nature of software poses a complex challenge for software engineering. The greatest danger of such systems is that wrong application or faulty development can endanger human life. Therefore important attributes of critical systems are resilience, security, safeguarding and reliability. As recommended in various standards, these attributes can be achieved through the application of rigorous systems engineering, a discipline where a system is specified with formal methods (e.g., ASM, Event-B); the operability of the resulting software product can be certified via verification and validation.

RSE’s research focuses on:

  • Software specification, verification and validation
  • Static analysis and dynamic testing
  • Requirements specification and traceability
  • Model-based development
  • Generation of code artifacts from models
  • Software quality assurance
  • Software certification

Process modeling and analysis

Processes are the core of an enterprise and describe the interconnection of tasks in daily business. The formalization of modeling semantics and model integration enable sophisticated, reliable concepts that serve as the basis for further development and application-oriented utilization. In several research projects at SCCH, formal semantics were defined for the established modeling language Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), a new modeling method with horizontal model integration was developed (Hagenberg Business Process Modelling Method, H-BPM), and flexible process adaptation on exceptions was supported. The basic idea of process mining is to detect, monitor and improve real processes via extraction of knowledge from event logs. This enables visualisation of actual processes, performance analyses, process improvements, checking adherence to processes, as well as process monitoring and prediction.

RSE’s research focuses on:

  • Business process modeling (H-BPM, BPMN)
  • Flexible business processes and fault handling
  • Process analysis/ Process mining
  • Process monitoring and prediction

Model-based Systems Engineering

Alongside Computer-aided technologies (CAx) and Product Data Management (PDM), Model-based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is the third pillar in „Product Life-Cycle Management“ (PLM) and thus a core topic of the Industrial Digitalization (Industrie 4.0) vision. Beside static aspects of products and production, as modelled in CAD, it is necessary to also model processes, interactions and flows between components, the environment (including the user) and other systems aspects. Only then is it possible to simulate product behavior and application as well as production and to verify fundamental properties, in particular those relevant for safety and security.

RSE’s research focuses on:

  • Formal, overall language definition and semantics for SysML
  • Developing and evaluating methods and tools for MBSE
  • Application of the formalized method and evaluated tools for concrete tasks
  • Development of integrated methods to fulfil security requirements

RSE develops techniques, methods and tools that not only address scientific issues on the research level but also afford practical solutions and consultancy for industrial partners to support them in improving their current practices and solving their everyday problems.