Challenges and Directions in Formalizing the Semantics of Modeling Languages

Barrett R. Bryant1, Jeff Gray2, Marjan Mernik3, Peter J. Clarke4, Robert B. France5 and Gabor Karsai6

  1. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Birmingham, Alabama 35294-1170, USA
  2. Department of Computer Science, University of Alabama
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0290, USA
  3. Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor
    2000 Maribor, Slovenia
  4. School of Computing and Information Sciences, Florida International University
    Miami, Florida 33199, USA
  5. Computer Science Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1873, USA
  6. Institute for Software-Integrated Systems, Vanderbilt University
    Nashville, Tennessee 37235, USA


Developing software from models is a growing practice and there exist many model-based tools (e.g., editors, interpreters, debuggers, and simulators) for supporting model-driven engineering. Even though these tools facilitate the automation of software engineering tasks and activities, such tools are typically engineered manually. However, many of these tools have a common semantic foundation centered around an underlying modeling language, which would make it possible to automate their development if the modeling language specification were formalized. Even though there has been much work in formalizing programming languages, with many successful tools constructed using such formalisms, there has been little work in formalizing modeling languages for the purpose of automation. This paper discusses possible semantics-based approaches for the formalization of modeling languages and describes how this formalism may be used to automate the construction of modeling tools.

Key words

model-based tools, modeling languages, semantics.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Publication information

Volume 8, Issue 2 (May 2011)
Advances in Formal Languages, Modeling and Applications
Year of Publication: 2011
ISSN: 2406-1018 (Online)
Publisher: ComSIS Consortium

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Bryant, B. R., Gray, J., Mernik, M., Clarke, P. J., France, R. B., Karsai, G.: Challenges and Directions in Formalizing the Semantics of Modeling Languages. Computer Science and Information Systems, Vol. 8, No. 2, 225-253. (2011),