GMU Software Engineering Seminar

*Speaker:*     Walid Taha
*Title:*     Mathematical Equations as Executable Models of Mechanical
*Date/Time:*    Wed. 1/26/2011 @  3pm
*Location:*    4201, Engineering Building

[This talk is based on a paper presented at ICCPS 2010, Stockholm, Sweden.]

Cyber-physical systems comprise digital components that directly interact
with a physical environment.  Specifying the behavior desired of such
systems requires analytical modeling of physical phenomena.  Similarly,
testing them requires simulation of continuous systems.  While numerous
tools support later stages of developing simulation codes, there is still a
large gap between analytical modeling and building running simulators.  This
gap significantly impedes the ability of scientists and engineers to develop
novel cyber-physical systems.

We propose bridging this gap by automating the mapping from analytical
models to simulation codes.  Focusing on mechanical systems as an important
class of physical systems, we study the form of analytical models that arise
in this domain, along with the process by which domain experts map them to
executable codes.  We show that the key steps needed to automate this
mapping are 1) a light-weight analysis to partially direct equations, 2) a
binding-time analysis, and 3) symbolic differentiation.  In addition to
producing a prototype modeling environment, we highlight some limitations in
the state of the art in tool support of simulation, and suggest ways in
which some of these limitations could be overcome.


Prof. Taha is a Professor of Computer Science at Halmstad University in
Sweden, and holds and adjunct position at Rice University in Houston, TX.
He is credited for developing the idea of multi-stage programming, and is
the designer of several systems that develop this idea, including MetaOCaml,
ConCoqtion, Java Mint, and the Verilog Preprocessor. He was also involved in
the development of several other ideas, including statically typed macros,
tag elimination, tagless staged interpreters, event-driven functional
reactive programming (E-FRP), the notion of exact software design, and
gradual typing. In 2010, Taha's publications had over 1,600 citations, and
his h-index was 26. Taha was the principal investigator on a number of
research awards and contracts from the National Science Foundation (NSF),
Semi-conductor Research Consortium (SRC), and Texas Advanced Technology
Program (ATP).  He received an NSF CAREER award to develop Java Mint.  He
founded the ACM Conference on Generative Programming and Component
Engineering (GPCE), the IFIP Working Group on Program Generation (WG 2.11),
and the Middle Earth Programming Languages Seminar (MEPLS).  Taha chaired
the 2009 IFIP Working Conference on Domain Specific Languages.