Diagrams 2008 Conference

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No Reservations: Diagrams 2008

Ok, so I actually did have reservations for this trip, although just barely. Try booking a hotel during the week of and before Oktoberfest near the capital of the annual Dionysian festival. I’m just a fan of Anthony Bourdain, and am shamelessly using the title of his show to help promote my blog posts. I arrived in Herrsching am Ammersee around 6pm on Thursday, September 18th. It’s cold. Really cold. It’s been rainy, too. And I forgot my umbrella.

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So, what am I doing in Herrsching am Ammersee? Attending the Diagrams 2008 conference, of course! It promises to be a fun-filled three days of discussions about Euler Diagrams, Mechatronic UML, and Heterogenous Reasoning. What are these things, you may ask? Perhaps even more important, what the heck do they have to do with software requirements? Well, possibly nothing, but I’m determined to find some way to justify my company sending me to this conference.

Actually, they have quite a bit to do with Software Requirements, at least ostensibly. More will be explained in the coming days, but for now, here is some introductory information about the conference. The header of the conference website says the following:

“From early human history, diagrams have been pervasive in human communication. The recent rise of multimedia technology that has turned advanced visual communication into an integral part of our everyday reality makes a better understanding of the role of diagrams and sketches in communication, cognition, creative thought, and problem-solving a necessity. These developments have triggered a new surge of interest in the study of diagrammatic notations, which is driven by several different scientific disciplines concerned with cognition, computation and communication.”

As you can probably tell, the conference is interdisciplinary in nature. Also quite fortunately, the conference’s themes intersect with some of my own marginally-requirements-related academic interests: formal languages and their applications, as well as diagrammatic reasoning (which is just a fancy way of saying “using pictures to arrive at conclusions about stuff”). Now, fellow requirements folk, are you getting a clearer picture (LOL) of how this conference is related to software requirements? If not, here are some things I expect to learn, based on the paper submissions:

  • Leveraging findings in Cognitive Science to help with Model Selection in Requirements Engineering
  • Applications for models on very large-scale problems–think about entity relationship or dataflow diagrams with hundreds, even thousands of nodes.
  • Tools, tools, and more tools. There are some really cool modeling tools and sketch recognition software being demoed. Also, some prototyping tools.
  • How to analyze models for consistency.

Stay tuned, as there is lots more to come. Auf Weidersein for now.

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