1. Introduction

The current issue of the Computer Science and Information Systems journal continues to publish research papers from a wide range of contemporary topics in the fields of computer science and information systems. This issue contains nine regular articles, and thirteen articles in two special sections. The first special section “Contemporary ICT Research Trends Emerging from South-East Europe” contains five articles selected from the 6th Balkan Conference in Informatics (BCI 2013), held in Thessaloniki, Greece, September 19–21, 2013. The second special section “Computational Intelligence in Business Administration” contains eight papers selected from the International Conference on Modeling and Simulation in Engineering, Economics and Management (MS’10 Barcelona), held at the University of Barcelona, Spain, July 15–17, 2010. We are would like to express our gratitude to the guest editors, article authors and reviewers for their hard work and effort in making this issue of our journal possible.

Regular articles present interesting research achievements and considerable novelties in the following areas: ubiquitous health monitoring data, domain ontologies for natural languages, distributed services for messaging middleware models, selection of appropriate question-based design patterns, collaborative methods for business process model maintenance, visual Web-based approach to the interaction of data warehouse schemas, application and database co-refactoring, agile approach to the design of enterprise data warehouses, and neural network approaches to anomaly intrusion detection.

2. Special Sections

Special section “Contemporary ICT Research Trends Emerging from South-East Europe” contains papers that illustrate current research directions and trends in the South-East European region presented at the 6th Balkan Conference in Informatics (BCI 2013). More than a hundred papers were submitted to the conference; only 30% were accepted and published in the ACM International Conference Proceedings Series.

Five extended and improved versions of these papers went through a new rigorous, anonymous, peer review process and are published in this special section of ComSIS. Papers cover the following interesting research results: an effective prototype selection data reduction technique which improves the efficiency of k-nearest neighbor classification on large datasets, a generic meta-model and standard physical database schema meta-model for representing existing (legacy) information systems, an agent based framework for reasoning services over the Web, an educational computer game that helps young children with autism to learn how to identify facial expressions, and a methodology for addressing the privacy-preserving record linkage problem which is based on a distributed framework.

Special section “Computational Intelligence in Business Administration” contains papers selected from the International Conference on Modeling and Simulation in Engineering, Economics and Management (MS’10 Barcelona). Papers present research results based on application of intelligent techniques, modeling and simulation in a wide range of business areas: economics, management, tourism, finance, and engineering. Papers cover the following interesting research results: using fuzzy sets theory for reducing uncertainty in the resource selection problem, a framework for dealing with the theory of affinities in order to assess grouping problems, analysis of impact of Web 2.0 technologies in business performance, application of innovative business intelligence software in a range of business companies, improvements of claim predicting models by using fuzzy numbers and other related techniques, a new aggregation operator that uses intuitionistic fuzzy numbers and its application in business decision making, application of innovative fuzzy systems in the finance domain, and a new approach for propagating ontological and epistemic uncertainty by using risk assessment models and fuzzy time-series techniques.

3. Regular Papers

The regular paper section contains nine articles that cover a wide range of topics and areas in computer science and information systems.

The first regular paper, “Collaborative Method to Maintain Business Process Models Updated” by Nuno Castela et al. discusses collaborative aspects of business process model maintenance through the creation of interaction contexts which enable business actors to discuss business processes and share business knowledge. In fact, the authors defined an organizational support method to explicitly describe the steps and participants involved in the dynamic updating of business processes models. Organizational actors monitor the activities they perform in order to propose updates to the models using annotations, establishing a conversation between the involved actors. The proposed updates are reviewed and evaluated by the actors involved in the business process context and may lead to the creation of new versions of business process models. By examining real case studies (the first case study was conducted at the Social Security District Center, the second case study at Huf Portuguesa, an automotive parts manufacturing company, and the third case study was developed at Technology School) the authors conclude that the defined method and the developed tool can help organizations effectively maintain a business process model in an updated state.

Clemente R. Borges and José A. Macías, in “Facilitating the Interaction with Data Warehouse Schemas through a Visual Web-Based Approach,” tried to resolve several drawbacks existing in the area of data warehousing: implicit drawbacks concerning representation and interaction with data in relational database applications, lack of expressiveness and ease of use in user interfaces to handle such data, and the implicit need for interactive end-user visual tools to query data and avoid dependency on programming languages. They study the problem of database interaction and usability, proposing a web-based tool that manipulates data warehouse schemas by using a visual language to represent the database structure and providing several visualization techniques that facilitate the interaction and creation of queries involving different levels of complexity. They also open new challenging questions for future work, involving investigations of data-model usability in order to obtain new findings on how data warehouse structures can affect overall usability in database applications.

“Building ontologies for different natural languages” by Emhimed Salem Alatrish et al. is concentrated on ontologies as a very important concept in different scientific fields such as knowledge engineering and representation, information retrieval and extraction, knowledge management, agent systems, etc. The authors propose a semi-automatic procedure to create ontologies for different natural languages. The approach combines different resources and tools such as DODDLE-OWL, WordNet, Protégé and XSLT transformations in order to formulate a general procedure to construct a domain ontology for any natural language. The authors also plan to conduct further analysis of the results and compare the obtained ontology trees using different natural languages with the same input text. As crucial future work they will attempt to improve the proposed approach by integrating additional software tools and making certain steps simpler.

The tendency of contemporary society towards increasing numbers of elderly people and people who need continuous health monitoring creates the need for adequate research in the area of ubiquitous health monitoring systems. In “User-Centric Privacy-Preserving Statistical Analysis of Ubiquitous Health Monitoring Data,” George Drosatos and Pavlos S. Efraimidis propose a user-centric software architecture for managing ubiquitous health monitoring data (UHMD) generated from wearable sensors in a ubiquitous health monitoring system (UHMS), and examine how these data can be used within privacy-preserving distributed statistical analysis, with the main goals of enhancing patient privacy and managing the large volumes of biomedical data obtained through wearable sensors. They implemented a prototype that performs privacy-preserving statistical analysis on a community of independent personal agents and presented experimental results with a significant number of agents (several hundred) that confirm the viability and the effectiveness of their approach.

Peter Szilagyi in “Iris: A decentralized approach to backend messaging middlewares,” introduces the Iris decentralized messaging framework, which takes a midway approach between the two prevalent messaging middleware models: the centralized one represented by the AMQP family and the socket queuing one represented by ZeroMQ. Iris achieves this goal by turning towards peer-to-peer overlays as the internal transport for message distribution and delivery. The main advantage of the proposed system is its significant switching speed, which can be scaled better than that of existing messaging frameworks, whilst incurring effectively zero configuration costs. Nevertheless, the author plans to continue with experiments to further validate and improve the proposed system.

The article “A Direct Approach to Physical Data Vault Design” by Dragoljub Krneta et al. presents a comparative review of contemporary approaches to data warehouse design automation and defines a novel direct approach to physical data vault design based on source data meta-model and rules. Apart from that, the authors are concentrated on a novel agile approach to large scale design of enterprise data warehouses based on a data vault model. The proposed algorithm for incremental design of physical enterprise data warehouses employs source data meta-model and rules, and is used for developing a prototype case tool for data vault design. Finally, an important contribution of the paper is that it provides a concrete basis for the development of tools for designing data warehouses.

Today’s computer systems and networks suffer due to rapid increase of attacks. In order to keep them safe from malicious activities or policy violations, emergent research activities go in the direction of developing effective security monitoring systems, such as intrusion detection systems (IDS). Many researchers concentrate their efforts in this area using different approaches to build reliable intrusion detection systems. “Flow-Based Anomaly Intrusion Detection System Using Two Neural Network Stages” by Yousef Abuadlla et al. proposes an intrusion detection system that uses two neural network stages based on flow-data for detecting and classifying attacks in network traffic, with the first stage detecting significant changes in the traffic that could be a potential attack, and the second stage defining whether there is a known attack and classifying the type of attack. The experimental results are promising and demonstrate that the designed models exhibit good accuracy and computational time, with a low probability of false alarms. Therefore, the authors plan to continue their work in order to develop a more accurate model that can be used in real-time environments.

Evolution of software is an unavoidable process during software development and influences all phases of the software lifecycle. On the other hand, refactoring is popular practice for evolving the source code and software architecture highly connected to object-oriented environments. It can be successfully applied in different software systems and environments. Ondrej Macek and Karel Richta, in “Application and Relational Database Co-Refactoring,” go a little bit further and analyze the impact of the application of refactoring on relational database schemas and appropriate stored data. The main contribution of their research is a new point of view on the application of refactoring. The authors are particularly concentrated on proposing a model for refactoring of application persistent objects which is capable of migrating the database according to refactoring of the application code. Furthermore, they showed that the automatic co-refactoring is possible not only in the case of basic changes to an application, but also complex refactoring can be successfully applied automatically on the applications’ code and database.

Finally, Luka Pavlič et al. in their article “A Question-Based Design Pattern Advisement Approach” propose a question-based design pattern advisement approach, whose goal is to assist developers in identifying and selecting the most suitable design pattern for a given problem. Controlled experiment and two surveys were conducted and results have shown that the proposed approach is beneficial especially to software developers, who have less experience with design patterns. The article also presents extensions to the existing object-oriented design ontology (ODOL), defines a new design pattern advisement ontology and introduces a tool that supports the proposed ontology and the question-based advisement (OQBA) approach. The authors will continue their research activities in the area by developing a holistic methodology for design pattern selection including automatic question forming based on the analysis of paths taken by developers interacting with the system during the question-answer session. Using ontology-based reasoning and techniques they plan to automatically create relevant questions and answers based on information, concepts and relationships stored in the ontology.

4. Conclusions

This issue of Computer Science and Information Systems consisting of regular articles and papers in two special sessions offers variety of interesting research results in a wide range of computer science and information systems topics.

We hope that our readers will enjoy this issue and find interesting and challenging papers for their current and future professional work and research.

Mirjana Ivanović

Managing Editor
Miloš Radovanović