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Constraint programming for type inference in flexible model-driven engineering

Paige, Richard F.; Kolovos, Dimitrios S.; Clariso, Robert; Matragkas, Nicholas; Clarisó, Robert; Kolovos, Dimitrios; Paige, Richard; Zolotas, Athanasios


Richard F. Paige

Dimitrios S. Kolovos

Robert Clariso

Nicholas Matragkas

Robert Clarisó

Dimitrios Kolovos

Richard Paige

Athanasios Zolotas


Domain experts typically have detailed knowledge of the concepts that are used in their domain; however they often lack the technical skills needed to translate that knowledge into model-driven engineering (MDE) idioms and technologies. Flexible or bottom-up modelling has been introduced to assist with the involvement of domain experts by promoting the use of simple drawing tools. In traditional MDE the engineering process starts with the definition of a metamodel which is used for the instantiation of models. In bottom-up MDE example models are defined at the beginning, letting the domain experts and language engineers focus on expressing the concepts rather than spending time on technical details of the metamodelling infrastructure. The metamodel is then created manually or inferred automatically. The flexibility that bottom-up MDE offers comes with the cost of having nodes in the example models left untyped. As a result, concepts that might be important for the definition of the domain will be ignored while the example models cannot be adequately re-used in future iterations of the language definition process. In this paper, we propose a novel approach that assists in the inference of the types of untyped model elements using Constraint Programming. We evaluate the proposed approach in a number of example models to identify the performance of the prediction mechanism and the benefits it offers. The reduction in the effort needed to complete the missing types reaches up to 91.45% compared to the scenario where the language engineers had to identify and complete the types without guidance.


Kolovos, D. S., Paige, R. F., Clariso, R., Matragkas, N., Clarisó, R., Kolovos, D., …Zolotas, A. (2017). Constraint programming for type inference in flexible model-driven engineering. Computer languages, systems & structures, 49, 216-230.

Acceptance Date Dec 11, 2016
Online Publication Date Dec 24, 2016
Publication Date Sep 1, 2017
Deposit Date Jan 11, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jan 11, 2017
Journal Computer languages, systems & structures
Print ISSN 1477-8424
Electronic ISSN 1477-8424
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Pages 216-230
Keywords Flexible modelling; Bottom-up modelling; Type inference; Constraint programming; Example-driven modelling
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Constraint programming for type inference in flexible model-driven engineering; Journal Title: Computer Languages, Systems & Structures; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


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