TU Wien Informatics

20 Years

Wolfgang Reisig: The Role of Modeling in Informatics

  • 2024-04-10
  • Guest Professor
  • Doctoral School

We explore the potential of a modeling-first approach in software development, constructing models from the perspective of real-world problems to be solved.

Wolfgang Reisig: The Role of Modeling in Informatics
Picture: tomertu / stock.adobe.com


Since the late 1960s, modeling has been the little brother of programming. A programmer usually develops software from a tentative, informal understanding of a real-world problem. Specifying the relevant part of the real world itself, the problem to be solved, and the solution often remain somewhat opaque; the developed software eventually counts. In recent decades, much effort has been spent developing new programming concepts and programming languages, particularly object orientation. Modeling concepts and modeling languages have been much less recognized. In fact, the software industry is reluctant to construct detailed models before starting programming. Existing software modeling frameworks don’t generate satisfactory benefits.

We suggest a more comprehensive approach, constructing models from the perspective of real-world problems to be solved. The behavior of men, organizations, mechanical devices, and computers, together with their interaction, can formally be represented at any freely chosen level of detail.

About Wolfgang Reisig

Wolfgang Reisig studied in Karlsruhe and Bonn (Physics and Computer Science). From 1974 to 1983, he worked as scientific staff and assistant at the University of Bonn and RWTH Aachen. He earned a Ph.D. in 1979 analyzing cooperating sequential processes. In 1983, Wolfgang served as an acting professor at the University of Hamburg and subsequently as a project manager at the Society for Mathematics and Data Processing (with Carl Adam Petri), focusing on system analysis and modeling. He achieved habilitation at the University of Bonn in 1987. Afterward, Wolfgang became a Professor of Theoretical Computer Science at the Technical University of Munich. From 1993 to 2015, he served as a Software Engineering and Theory of Programming Professor at the Institute of Computer Science at Humboldt University of Berlin. He was a speaker at the DFG Graduate School for Service-Oriented Architectures for the Integration of Software-Based Processes, exemplified by healthcare and medical technology (SOAMED). Wolfgang conducted several months of research at ICSI, Berkeley, California, at Microsoft Research in Redmond, and as a “Lady Davis Visiting Professor” at the Technion, Haifa, Israel. In 2006, he became the Beta Chair at Eindhoven University of Technology. Wolfgang is a member of the European Academy of Sciences, Academia Europaea.

About Current Trends in Computer Science

This lecture is part of the Current Trends in Computer Science Lecture Series by the TU Wien Informatics Doctoral School, where renowned guest professors hold public lectures every semester.

If you are studying with us, the lecture series can be credited as an elective course for students of master programs of computer science: 195.072 Current Trends in Computer Science. Additionally, you can join courses held by this year’s guest professors of our doctoral colleges and the TU Wien Informatics Doctoral School.

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