Software with long life cycles is faced with continuously changing contexts. New functionality has to be added, new platforms have to be addressed, and existing business rules have to be adjusted. The concept of role modeling has been introduced in different fields and at different times in order to model context-related information, including – above all – the dynamic change of contexts. However, often roles have only been used in an isolated way for context modeling in programming languages, in database modeling or to specify access control mechanisms. Never have they been used consistently on all levels of abstraction in the software development process, i.e. modeling of concepts, languages, applications, and software systems.
The central research goal of this program is to deliver proof of the capability of consistent role modeling and its practical applicability. This includes the concept modeling (in meta-languages), the language modeling, and the modeling on the application and software system level. The subsequent scientific elaboration of the role concept, in order to be able to model the change of context on different levels of abstraction, represents another research task in this program. Consistency offers significant advantages in the field of software systems engineering because context changes are interrelated on different levels of abstraction; plus, they can be synchronously developed and maintained. Potential application fields are the future smart grid, natural energy based computing, cyber-physical systems in home, traffic, and factories, enterprise resource planning software, context-sensitive search engines, etc.
The research training group puts a strong emphasis on a comprehensive and individual mentoring and qualification approach. In order to achieve this balancing act, quality assurance measures are introduced in the form of advisor tandems and a thesis advisory board on the one hand. On the other hand, motivating and extra-curricular aspects will be integrated into the research training group, such as seminars on soft skills and a comprehensive international program for visiting scientists.