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‘Semantic Version Management based on Formal Certification’ wins ‘Best Paper Award’



‘Semantic Version Management based on Formal Certification’ wins ‘Best Paper Award’

We are proud to announce that the ICSOFT-PT 2015 ‘Best Paper Award’ has gone to PERICLES project partner Xerox Research Centre Europe (XRCE), a multidisciplinary organisation based in Grenoble, France, with experts in computer vision, text analytics, data analytics, machine learning and process modelling applied to information, data and documents (see Picture 1).  The winning paper entitled ‘Semantic Version Management based on Formal Certification was presented by Senior Researcher Jean-Yves Vion-Dury at the 10th International Conference on Software Paradigm Trends, which brought together researchers, engineers and practitioners interested on information technology and software development. This latest ICSOFT-PT edition took place in Colmar, France on 20-22 July 2015 and focussed on the four main paradigms that have been intensively studied during the last decade for software and system design, namely: Models, Aspects, Services and Context. An extended version of this paper will be published in the Springer-Verlag CCIS series book.

Picture 1: Jean-Yves Vion-Dury (right) and Nikolaos Lagos received the award from Marten van Sinderen, program co-chair, during the closing session.

The paper written jointly by Jean-Yves Vion-Dury and Nikolaos Lagos introduced part of the work done in PERICLES within the area of dependency and change management models for digital ecosystems (Work package 3). Modelling is at the heart of PERICLES ‘Model-driven preservation’ approach, where properly designed systems conform to explicit models that capture intents and interpretation contexts associated with the digital resource and their usage. PERICLES also promotes the 'Preservation-by design' approach where preservation is not seen as an after-thought but is embedded into the design and architecture of the data.

The XRCE paper describes a Semantic Version Management method that supports consistent management of digital resources throughout their life cycle. The core notion is that resources can be associated with logical specifications formally expressed using an extensible logical language. The paper also illustrates how a service can obtain formal proofs for qualifying changes (occurring either on the resource content or on the corresponding specifications) and accordingly characterizing them via the definition of appropriate version labels. Based on the above method, a service-oriented solution is also described that enables managing changes consistently, in a sound manner, for both resource owners and users.

Recently, a surprising connection was established while interacting with PERICLES project partner Tate, namely, the so-called significant properties used in the Software-Based Art (SBA) community to characterize the important characteristics of an artwork, those expected to be continuously maintained during the potential evolution of the artwork rendering in order to satisfy the initial intention of the artist.

It turned out that this notion of significant properties has a direct translation in our semantic versioning model through the notion of logical invariant a logic specification focusing on describing what should never change during the life of the versioned resource, which is in some sense about defining the very identity of the objects, beyond their name.

The next step for the PERICLES project regarding versioning management will be experimental. According to J.-Y. Vion-Dury and N. Lagos, “We are looking forward deploying the model into the forthcoming PERICLES experimental architecture in tight collaboration with our partners. We expect to assess the usefulness and genericity of our semantic versioning at various descriptive levels for tracking change history of quite heterogeneous digital resources, ranging from documents, programming modules, Software-Based artworks, data and meta-data as well. The version qualification operations might range from fully automatic, up to fully user-driven, depending on the nature of objects and the complexity of specifications. In the user-driven case, one important aspect will be to understand how to best interact with human operators in order to assess the validity of the resource properties according to the modelled specifications during the versioning operations.”

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