ISR Distinguished Speaker

Jeff Magee

Department of Computing, Distributed Software Engineering Section
“Distributed Software Engineering: an Architectural Approach”
Friday, May 18, 2007 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Faculty Host: Thomas Asplaugh, ISR


Email RSVP required to Nancy Myers at by Monday May 14.

Donald Bren Hall (building #314), room 6011

No cost to attend.


Click here for directions and parking information.


Software architectural (structural) concepts and principles are highly beneficial in specifying, designing, analyzing, constructing and evolving distributed software. Structure, as a separable perspective, relies on sound techniques for composition - whether of software components or specifications of behavior. These complementary concerns of structure and composition are the themes addressed in this talk.

With hindsight, work at Imperial College on engineering distributed software can be roughly divided into three overlapping phases. First, explicit structure characterized our work on configuration programming. The prototype distributed system CONIC included the ability to specify, construct and dynamically evolve a distributed software system, using a configuration language to compose software components. Work on the general purpose ADL Darwin and its industrial instantiation, Koala, followed. The second phase focused on modeling in a structural framework. The aim was to analyze systems as structural compositions of their components' behavior. This led to our work with labelled transition systems (LTS), the process algebra, FSP (Finite State Processes) and construction of the model checker, LTSA. Model animation and model synthesis from scenarios has enriched this vein of research. Our current work is concerned with self-adaptive software architectures for autonomous systems. These are systems which both automatically configure themselves and subsequently reconfigure themselves to accommodate dynamically changing context and requirements without human intervention. Structure in these systems is captured both explicitly by description and implicitly by structural constraints.

A sound architectural approach dictates formalisms and techniques that are compositional, components that are context independent and systems that can be constructed and evolved incrementally. The talk overviews our experience with, and gives indications of our future work in, using architectural structure to engineer distributed software. We emphasize the role of software tools and prototype systems in Software Engineering research.

About the Speaker: 

Professor Jeff Magee is a graduate in Electrical Engineering and holds M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Computing Science. He is currently Head of the Department of Computing at Imperial College London. His research is primarily concerned with the software engineering of distributed systems, including design methods, analysis techniques, operating systems, languages and program support environments for these systems. His work on Software Architecture led to the commercial use by Phillips of an Architecture Description language based on Darwin in their current generation of consumer television products. He is the author of over 100 refereed publications and has co-authored a book on concurrent programming entitled "Concurrency - State models and Java programs". He was co-editor of the IEE Proceedings on Software Engineering and is currently a TOSEM Associate Editor. He was program co-chair of the 24th International Conference on Software Engineering held in Florida and chaired the ICSE Steering Committee from 2002-2004. He was a member-at-large of the ACM SIGSOFT committee from 2002-2005. He was awarded the BCS 1999 Brendan Murphy prize for the best paper in Distributed systems and the IEE Informatics Premium prize for 1998/99 for a paper jointly authored with Professor Kramer on Software Architecture. He is the co-recipient of the 2005 ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award for his work in Distributed Software Engineering. He has also worked with many industries, including BP, BT, NATS, Fujitsu, Barclays Capital, QinetiQ, Kodak and Philips, in both research collaborations and in a consultancy role.