Comprehensive systems: a formal foundation for multi-model consistency management
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionStünkel, P., König, H., Lamo, Y., & Rutle, A. (2021). Comprehensive Systems: A formal foundation for Multi-Model Consistency Management. Formal Aspects of Computing, 33(6), 1067-1114. 10.1007/s00165-021-00555-2
Model management is a central activity in Software Engineering. The most challenging aspect of model management is to keep inter-related models consistent with each other while they evolve. As a consequence, there is a lot of scientific activity in this area, which has produced an extensive body of knowledge, methods, results and tools. The majority of these approaches, however, are limited to binary inter-model relations; i.e. the synchronisation of exactly two models. Yet, not every multi-ary relation can be factored into a family of binary relations. In this paper, we propose and investigate a novel comprehensive system construction, which is able to represent multi-ary relations among multiple models in an integrated manner and thus serves as a formal foundation for artefacts used in consistency management activities involving multiple models. The construction is based on the definition of partial commonalities among a set of models using the same language, which is used to denote the (local) models. The main theoretical results of this paper are proofs of the facts that comprehensive systems are an admissible environment for (i) applying formal means of consistency verification (diagrammatic predicate framework), (ii) performing algebraic graph transformation (weak adhesive HLR category), and (iii) that they generalise the underlying setting of graph diagrams and triple graph grammars.