Model-Driven Development of Component-Based Software
Software applications, such as those in healthcare, governance and financial industry, are becoming increasingly complex, due to the rapid increase in the power of hardware systems and advances in communication network technologies. The failure of such software would be expensive and inconvenient — even chaotic — but it could also, in an increasing number of cases, impinge on public safety.
UNU-IIST recognizes the importance of the research on software engineering foundations and software development methodologies, as well as their applications in shared, interoperable and trustworthy information systems.
UNU-IIST originated the rCOS (refinement of Object and Component Systems) method of model-driven development which studies how models of large software systems are divided into smaller models across competing design concerns, and how models are refined through different levels of abstraction. It develops techniques and tool support for model construction, decomposition/composition, validation and transformations. The techniques and their tool support are developed based on a unified theory of program semantics that allows them to be applied consistently in different phases of a model-driven development process. The rigor and techniques of abstraction are effective for mastering the complexity of the process, and critical to assuring the trustworthiness of the system developed.
The techniques and tools developed, as well as understanding gained, are applicable to the wider realm of model-driven architecture (MDA) for software development. Thus, the rCOS method is an important part of the foundation technology for the development of ICT solutions to issues of governance, health, e-learning and poverty. But UNU-IIST also applying the rCOS method to some very specific healthcare issues. (see Software Engineering in Healthcare)
Though developed initially at UNU-IIST, the rCOS method has inspired more than a dozen master and PhD theses in recent years. The method is being used in teaching and research projects in and outside Macau. The UNU-IIST research team enjoys fruitful international collaboration, and has been supported by the Macau Science and Technology Development Fund, and Chinese Natural Science Foundation through various research projects.