SCSC2003 Abstract S31234

SIMULATING THE INTER-COMPONENT INTERACTIONS IN SOFTWARE SYSTEMS

SIMULATING THE INTER-COMPONENT INTERACTIONS IN SOFTWARE SYSTEMS

Submitting Author: Dr. Joseph Barjis

Abstract:
We observe an increasing role of component-based systems for solving current business problems. The advantages of such systems are that they consist of components which are individually definable, testable, replaceable, often reusable, individually maintainable and so on. There are also some indirect advantages, like the possibility to derive (software) components out of business components.

Aligning the business process modeling and software specification in a component-based way relates to a number of problems ? the identification of business processes from a given business reality, their formalization and modeling, leading to the construction of (generic) business components; specification of software based on the identified business components; integration of the component-based software model. This last problem is addressed in our paper.

Once there is a component-based software model, it is of significant importance to trace precisely all inter-component interactions in order to make sure that the overall performance of the software system is being properly designed. Otherwise, even though the components themselves might be properly designed, there is a risk the system as a whole to function inadequately.

A way to reliably and illustratably trace the interactions within a component-based system is via discrete event simulation. Analyzing systems through simulation has proved its methodological advantages. Next to that, the possibility to represent and visualize the system under study in sound graphical notations is of particular importance since the developers would have the chance to grasp the peculiarities of the system as a whole. Another advantageous feature regarding simulation models is that they are easily understandable not only by the system developers but also by potential users. For all these reasons, we claim that it is feasible to expect that simulation models can be helpful for grasping the interactions within a component-based system.

We consider in particular, the Arena simulation tool as one of the appropriate tools that can be used for business management simulation systems. An advantageous feature of Arena is its animation facilities.

Basic issues concerning our addressing the mentioned problems in this paper are:
To study the importance of the interaction issues for the proper specification of a software system.
To identify and analyze the interaction issues within a component-based system.
To simulate the interactions within a component-based system using Activity diagram (as a pre-simulation tool, as studied by Barjis & Shishkov (2001)) and Arena (as a simulation tool).




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