Model-Based Software Engineering in Industry: Revolution, Evolution, or Smoke?

  • 2012-10-08
  • Research

Software developers are incessantly inundated with wave upon wave of offered solutions to their many pains


Software developers are incessantly inundated with wave upon wave of offered solutions to their many pains (pains, which, unfortunately, are ultimately felt by their clients): third generation languages, object oriented programming, CASE tools, aspects, components, programming frameworks, extreme programming, agile methods, to name just a few. Some of these have indeed had dramatic impacts on how software is developed, while others have proved mere passing fads, never fulfilling the potential claimed for them. One of the more recent entries in this multitude is model-based software engineering (MBSE) also referred to sometimes as model-driven development. From its emergence in the 1990’s, this approach to software development along with its accompanying technologies have been promoted by their advocates as game changers, promising quantum leaps in productivity and product quality. Following the initial excitement and hype generated around MBSE, its position in the limelight is now slowly fading, displaced by more recent cure-alls. While MBSE is being used in some enterprises, it is far from being the dominant software development paradigm that its proponents had hoped for. For many software professionals, its relevance and impact are unclear at best.

In this talk, Bran Selic first examines the essential precepts of MBSE and the value proposition claimed for it. Next, in order to understand the reality behind it – as opposed to the hype, he reviews current experience with the use of MBSE in industry, based on a systematic and thorough survey of published data. B. Selic concludes with a critical assessment of the actual impact that MBSE has had to date and what the future might hold for it.


Bran Selic is President of Malina Software Corp., a Canadian company that provides consulting services to corporate clients and government institutions worldwide. He is also Director of Advanced Technology at Zeligsoft Limited in Canada and a Visiting Scientist at Simula Research Laboratories in Norway. In 2007, B. Selic retired from IBM Canada, where he was an IBM Distinguished Engineer, responsible for setting the strategic direction for software development tools. In addition, he is an adjunct professor of computer science at the University of Toronto and at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada), as well as a guest lecturer and researcher at the University of Sydney (Australia) and at INSA (Lyon, France). With close to 40 years of practical experience in designing and implementing large-scale industrial software systems, Bran has pioneered the application of model-based engineering methods in real-time and embedded applications and has led the definition of several international standards in that domain including the widely used Unified Modeling Language (UML).

Contact person at the TU Vienna

Katja Hildebrandt: Tel. +43 1 588 01 – 188 04


This talk is organized by the Business Informatics Group at the Institute of Software Technology and Interactive Systems. Supported by the Austrian Computer Society (OCG) and the Center for Computer Science (Zentrum für Informatik Forschung, ZIF).


  • Bran Selic, Malina Software Corp. and Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto/Carleton University

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