Keeping to our tradition of publishing two additional special issues, apart from two regular ones per year, this special issue is titled Advances in Model Driven Engineering, Languages and Agents.

Editors of this issue were inspired by several events they organized during 2012 in the following, somehow closely related domains: Advances in Model Driven Engineering; Programming Languages; Computer Languages, Implementations and Tools; and Multi-Agent Systems and Smart Grid Applications. These events included: (i) Workshop on Model Driven Approaches in System Development (MDASD) and International Workshop on Smart Energy Networks & Multi-Agent Systems (SEN-MAS), both organized within the scope of the Federated Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems (FedCSIS) in Wroclaw, Poland; (ii) Symposium on Computer Languages, Implementations and Tools (SCLIT) organized within the scope of the International Conference of Numerical Analysis and Applied Mathematics (ICNAAM) in Kos, Greece; and (iii) Symposium on Languages, Applications and Technologies (SLATE) in Braga, Portugal. After an open call to the prospective authors to submit their papers, and a rigorous reviewing procedure, the same as for regularly submitted papers, we finally accepted 14 papers presenting both theoretical and practical contributions in the field of Advances in Model Driven Engineering, Languages and Agents.

In the first paper, Requirements-Level Language and Tools for Capturing Software System Essence, Wiktor Nowakowski, Michał Smiałek, Albert Ambroziewicz, and Tomasz Straszak propose a model-based language for comprehensive treatment of domain knowledge, expressed through constrained natural language phrases that are grouped by nouns and include verbs, adjectives and prepositions. They also present an advanced tooling framework to capture application logic specifications making them available for automated transformations down to code. The tools were validated through a controlled experiment.

Sebla Demirkol, Moharram Challenger, Sinem Getir, Tomaž Kosar, Geylani Kardas, and Marjan Mernik in their paper A DSL for the Development of Software Agents working within a Semantic Web Environment, introduce a new DSL for Semantic Web enabled Multi-agent Systems. This new DSL is called Semantic web Enabled Agent Language (SEA_L). Both the SEA_L user-aspects and the way of implementing SEA_L are discussed in the paper. The practical use of SEA_L is also demonstrated using a case study which considers the modeling of a multi-agent based e-barter system.

Igor Rožanc and Boštjan Slivnik in their paper Using Reverse Engineering to Construct the Platform Independent Model of a Web Application for Student Information Systems present a methodology for extracting the domain knowledge from an existing three-tier web application and subsequent formulation of the platform independent model (PIM). As the paper is primarily aimed at practitioners, a case study illustrating the application of the presented method is also included.

Verislav Djukić, Ivan Luković, Aleksandar Popović, and Vladimir Ivančević, in the paper Model Execution: An Approach based on extending Domain-Specific Modeling with Action Reports present an approach to development and application of domain-specific modeling (DSM) tools in the model-based management of business processes. The level of Model-to-Text transformations in a typical DSM architecture is extended with action reports, which allow synchronization between models, generated code, and target interpreters. The applicability of action reports is demonstrated by examples from document engineering, and measurement and control systems.

In their paper Possible Realizations of Multiplicity Constraints, Zdeněk Rybola and Karel Richta summarize the process of the transformation of a binary association from a PIM into a PSM for relational databases. They suggest several possible realizations of the source class optionality constraint to encourage the automatically transformation and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. They also provide experimental comparison of the proposed realizations to the common realization where this constraint is omitted.

In their paper Testing framework for embedded languages, Dániel Leskó and Máté Tejfel describe a new advantage of embedding a new programming language into an existing one for purpose of software testing. Idea is to introduce a tool support for embedded languages by reusing existing tools for original languages and extend them with the interface to embedded language. Facing with non-extensibility of existing tools authors provide extendable and modular model of a testing framework. Main characteristics the framework ere: straightforward creation, test data generation, addressing the oracle problem, and the customizability of the whole testing phase.

Hemang Mehta, S J Balaji, and Dharanipragada Janakiram in their paper Extending Programming Language to Support Object Orientation in Legacy Systems propose an extension of a programming language such is C++ to support object orientation in legacy systems instead of completely redesigning them. They report major issues in providing the compile and runtime support for C++ in legacy systems, and provide a solution to these issues. This is demonstrated on a case study of Linux kernel. Authors provide a technique for converting a large C based software into C++ and experimentally test the results of the approach.

Jakub Křoustek and Dušan Kolář propose in the paper Context Parsing (Not Only) of the Object-File-Format Description Language a formal language that can be used for object file formats (OFF) description. They also present the design of a context parser for this language based on formal model. They highlight an ability to describe context-sensitive properties on the level of the language itself as important advantage of this approach. Furthermore they propose a possible usage in existing project.

“Infobots” are small-scale natural language question answering systems drawing inspiration from ELIZA-type systems. Their key distinguishing feature is the extraction of meaning from users’ queries without the use of syntactic or semantic representations. Peter Hancox and Nikolaos Polatidis in their paper An evaluation of keyword, string similarity and very shallow syntactic matching for a university admissions processing infobot analyze three approaches to identifying the users’ intended meanings: keyword based systems, Jaro-based string similarity algorithms and matching based on very shallow syntactic analysis. These were measured against a corpus of queries contributed by users of a WWW-hosted infobot for responding to questions about applications to MSc courses.

José Paulo Leal in the paper Using proximity to compute semantic relatedness in RDF graphs presents an approach for computing the semantic relatedness of terns in RDF graphs based on the notion of proximity. It is proposed a formal definition of proximity in terms of the set paths connecting two concept nodes, and an algorithm for finding this set and computing proximity with a given error margin.

In the paper Manage experiments on cognitive processes in writing with HandSpy, Carlos Monteiro and José Paulo Leal present a development of HandSpy, a collaborative environment for managing experiments in the cognitive processes in writing. The environment was designed to cover all the stages of the experiment, from the definition of tasks to be performed by participants, to the synthesis of results. Despite being a system independent from a specific collecting device, for the system validation, a framework for data collection was created.

In their previous work, the authors of the paper Batched Evaluation of Linear Tabled Logic Programs, Miguel Areias and Ricardo Rocha have developed a framework, on top of the Yap Prolog system, that supports the combination of different linear tabling strategies for local scheduling. In this paper, they propose an extension of their framework to support batched scheduling. In particular, they consider the two most successful linear tabling strategies, the DRA and DRE strategies. Their experimental results show that the combination of the DRA and DRE strategies can effectively reduce the execution time for batched evaluation.

Gregor Rohbogner, Ulf J. J. Hahnel, Pascal Benoit, and Simon Fey in the paper Multi-Agent Systems’ Asset for Smart Grid Applications, recognize that although multi-agent systems are being increasingly employed within smart grid environments, there is a lack of practical understanding of the term “agent” in these scenarios. The authors first discuss why agents are much more than just controllers, optimizers, or learning systems, and then take a critical stance towards existing approaches that employ “multi-agent systems” in smart grids. Finally, they show that, if understood and applied correctly, agents can add significant value to distributed dynamic environments, such as smart grids.

In the paper Model-based Integration of Constrained Search Spaces into Distributed Planning of Active Power Provision, Jörg Bremer and Michael Sonnenschein deal with the electricity sector’s need for new approaches regarding distributed planning, control and optimization of energy sources within smart grids. The core issue is that the grids are often decentralized and consist of large numbers of individually configured devices. Their proposed solution combines two new methodologies. Support vector-based black-box models are used for handling constraints in distributed optimization scenarios. Then, a distributed greedy approach is employed in order to find an optimal partition of the requested schedule for different distributed energy resources.

On behalf of the ComSIS Consortium and Editorial Board, let us express our great thanks to the reviewers and all the authors for their high-quality work and extraordinary enthusiasm.

Editors of the special issue
Ivan Luković,
Alberto Simões,
Zoran Budimac,
and Mirjana Ivanović