Tuesday, 14. June 2011 14.06.11 13:02 Age: 7 Jahre

The Software Whisperer
Junior Professor Steffen Becker foretells the quality of component-based software in Paderborn

Photo (Simone Rudolph): Jun.- Prof. Dr.-Ing. Steffen Becker in front of a chart for error observation of component-based performance-analysis.

Junior Professor Steffen Becker joined the Software Engineering group within the Department of Computer Science in April 2010 and, apparently, he likes his new home,  “A software engineer surely likes to work in Paderborn!” says Becker, who doesn’t just think about the department’s good reputation. Furthermore, Becker refers to the manifold possibilities to collaborate with institutions such as the s-lab, the C-LAB and the HNI. For his area of research, model-driven software engineering, Paderborn is an attractive place to work.

After Steffen Becker absolved his studies in Business Informatics at Darmstadt, he worked from 2003 to 2007 as a scientific assistant for the DFG project “Palladio”, under the administration of Mr. Prof. Dr. Ralf Reussner at the Universities of Oldenburg and Karlsruhe (TH). With the Palladio component model (named by the Italian renaissance architect Andrea Palladio), the project developed tools and methods to produce drafts of software systems with an engineering approach, which characteristics can be forecasted. Becker’s dissertation, under the title "Coupled model transformations for QoS enabled component-based software design” added significantly to the development of this model. After his dissertation Becker stayed in Karlsruhe and took charge of the position as the department manager at the local FZI in the field of software engineering.

Tying into his experiences gathered in the Palladio research group, Steffen Becker continued his work with component-based and service orientated software systems at the Department of Computer Science in Paderborn. Akin to an engineer or architect, who must investigate the statics of a bridge or house first, Becker designs models of scheduled software-systems before they are put into operation. But instead of walls Becker deals with quality-requests of particular software in order to forecast their “statics” (respectively their characteristics of quality). The reliability of software-architectures is up to the fulfilment of the systems standards. Steffen Becker therefore constructs models that enable him to make certain forecasts about the performance and reliability characteristics of the software systems.

Steffen Becker makes the significance of this (preliminary) work, (the modelling, analysis and optimization of software-architectures) clear via giving an example from everyday life: the breakdown of the baggage handling facility at the London airport in 2008. As the system was overstrained it crashed down so that over a certain period of time 15,000 pieces of luggage could not be conducted. In this case, apparently, the standards of the software system had not been inspected sufficiently enough before its first operation.

The early analysis of software systems cannot only prevent chaos, but also save a lot of money. Similarly, to a retroactive reconstruction of a house the remodelling of erroneous software is fairly expensive. With a good forecast, which relies on component-based models, such potential flaws in the software systems could be avoided.
“The goal of software engineering is to write a handbook which systematically pictures the requests to all possible drafts”, concludes Becker visionary. Perhaps, with such a book, the chaos at the airport in London could have been avoided.

Jun.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Steffen Becker
Research Group
Model-Driven Software Engineering
05251 60-3320