Past research projects
Gradual Verification of Event-driven: More and more, computer applications need to deal with multiple input streams and utilize distributed hardware, to access an ever growing range of consumer and business services in the cloud and in corporate networks. The development of such programs is encumbered by concurrency pitfalls such as race conditions and deadlocks, and distribution hazards such as connection failures and the lack of a single coordinating entity. In this project, we investigate these challenges and develop reasoning principles and tooling strategies to address them.
The purpose of the CartASUR (Représentations Cartographiques de la qualité des Ambiances Sonores Urbaines: acceptabilité des Cartes) research project in which SOFT is a subcontractor is to develop a tool capable of creating sound maps representing the urban soundscape at different spatial scales of the city (such as major roads and neighborhoods) as well as different time scales (such as a time period within a year or the time of day). This tool can help policy makers to enrich noise levels with perceptual and geographic indicators. Hence, soundscapes in urban public space are enriched with sense of pleasure/discomfort perceived by its citizens. Noise level indicators are currently defined on a yearly and national scale and do not incorporate citizen perception. We hypothesise that noise level indicators can be constructed from perceived data (citizen-supplied data transmitted via their mobile phone), from acoustic data (measurements taken of the changing sound level over time), and from other georeferenced data (collected from local authorities). The aggregated data will allow policy makers to better take into account the effect of noise on the quality of life. Additionally, this tool can be used by citizens to govern their own city.
The constant need for change in software drives the manner in which modern software is developed, as evidenced by the trend towards iterative and agile development processes. Automated testing approaches, bug trackers and static analyses still start from the fundamental assumption that they act upon a single, complete release of the system. As a result, there exists a remarkable disparity between the trend towards embracing change and the tools used by today’s software engineers. The main objective of the Cha-Q (Change-centric Quality Assurance) project is therefore to devise innovative tools that enable change-centric software development.
CT solutions are composed of multiple services and components that are independently developed and deployed on remote service platforms and, therefore, also indepen- dently evolve. To support improved modularization and customization of such composed appli- cations, this project proposes to establish a coherent AOSD-based invasive composition approach in which the fundamental problems of aspect interference and fragility are treated, and in which dynamic metadata plays a central role in dealing with software evolution issues.
ExaScience Life is a large interdisciplinary IWT project, set up as a collaboration between the five Flemish universities and two industrial partners: Intel and Janssen Pharmaceutica. The broad topic of ExaScience Life is to explore scientific applications for the next generation of supercomputers. Today, we are building peta-FLOP scale supercomputers, for the next decade we are expecting exascale. Such massive increase in processing power unlocks new types of scientific applications, exascale computing is therefor seen as a new driving force for scientific discoveries.
The aim of the COGNAC project is to build upon a formal actor-based concurrency model to provide gradual type system support that statically and dynamically reifies the ownership and location information present in remote object designation concepts. This offers coordination abstractions, such as ambient contracts, that simplifies the programmers task of developing and securing applications for devices that cooperate over intermittent network connections.
The latest generation of 3D Urban Information Models (UIM), created from accurate urban-scale geospatial information, can be used to create smart web services based on geometric, semantic, morphological and structural information at urban scale level, which can be used by local governments to: - improve decision-making on issues related to urban planning, city management, environmental protection and energy consumption based on urban pattern and its morphology; - promote inclusion among various users groups (e.g. elder or diversely able citizens) through services which account for barriers at city level; - involve citizens at wider scale by collecting geo-referenced information based on location based services at urban scale.
MOSCOU ( Mobile Simple COUponing ) with Monizze was funded by Innoviris. This feasibility study had the goal of investigating the viability of developing a new way of creating, distributing and redeeming “electronic” coupons. This is like the paper coupons that one sometimes finds in supermarket's magazines, newspapers or on a product itself, but integrated in a software-based virtual wallet running on the user’s smartphone. Digital coupons are implemented at a technical level by a smart object representing rich kinds of information. For example, a digital coupon has graphical information, usage restrictions (e.g. only valid in certain shops), and may depend on specific combinations of articles or other coupons.
This project aims to explore software engineering principles and pat- terns for the next generation of mobile applications, which run on smartphones featuring various sensors, RFID-readers and GPS-chips, blurring the distinction between clients and servers of in- formation and thus inducing fluid information spaces. On the other hand, we see the rise of new interface modalities such as voice interaction, digital pen and paper, gestures and so on. The goal of MobiCraNT is to come up with a multi-paradigm distributed software development model and in- novative information concepts for the representation of open and fluid cross-media documents to be used by the multimodal interaction that will be part of the second generation of mobile cross-media applications.
Many allergies, cancers and auto-immune diseases are cause by a complex interaction between different genes, proteines and environmental factors. An important goal of this project is applying and developing techniques and insights from other domains and complex systems, in particular to find clues for personalised drugs for allergies and multiple scleroses. Language and the evolution of language are examples of those complex systems where different interacting networks, like co-occurence, semantic and syntactic networks contribute to the wider research domain.
The Software Languages Lab is an active partner in the Flanders ExaScience Lab, one of the Intel research labs in Europe. The lab, a partnership between all Flemish universities, IMEC and Intel, is funded by the IWT and Intel. The lab performs research in High-performance Computing for Exascale systems, using Space Weather prediction as an application driver. Within the Exascience lab, the Software Languages lab focuses on new programming models, techniques and language runtime support for exascale computing.
Driven by customers that are increasingly cost-conscious and demanding, software-intensive product builders (i.e. builders of products with an important software component), compete on the basis of and mass customisation are therefore business strategies adopted by a growing number of companies. These companies are faced with several variability challenges with respect to managing all the variants of their products.
Contemporary distributed software systems have become extremely het- erogeneous, dynamic and large-scale; they may include backend servers, regular PCs, various mobile and ubiquitous devices, plus diverse network infrastructures, such as mobile ad-hoc and wireless sensor networks. The STADiUM project, funded by IWT, addresses this complex context and investigates a next generation management platform that is adaptable to various operational conditions and available system resources. The platform will be based on a middleware architecture that embraces adaptation, a set of reusable service frameworks at the device as well as the distribution level of the middleware, and a family of configuration languages.
Ensuring that software can display different behavior in different use contexts requires adapting software at runtime in dynamically created scopes (e.g. in a thread, in a client session, in a collaboration). Context-Oriented Programming (COP) offers dedicated language constructs for performing such dynamically scoped adaptations. However, like any dynamic software adaptation technique, COP hits a conceptual barrier when new variations of existing program entities are integrated into a running system: Although dynamically scoped adaptations inherently preserve some structural integrity requirements , global state consistency requirements  cannot be automatically ensured. Managing dynamically scoped adaptations therefore requires additional application-specific logic from within the system itself. Currently this application-specific logic must be added by the programmer in an ad-hoc way, which pollutes the system's design. The aim of this project is two-fold: (i) the description of the foundations of context-oriented programming that allows systematic reasoning about system-wide consistency in the presence of dynamically scoped adaptations, and (ii) based on this foundation, the creation of a reflective architecture for context-oriented programming languages that accommodates implementing application-specific policies for dealing with consistency conflicts.
The BrusSense team is formed by Matthias Stevens and Ellie D’Hondt, two young and ambitious researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s Computer Science Department. It is a continuation and an extension of the NoiseTube project, which investigated participatory techniques for monitoring noise pollution. In particular we turned mobile phones into noise sensors, thus enabling each citizen to measure personal exposure in his or her everyday environment. A collective map of noise pollution is built up by automatic sharing of users’ geolocalized measures within the community. BrusSense will extend this approach towards atmospheric pollution as well as implement a case study in the Brussels Region, an urban area with pollution problems aplenty.