Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Model translation : a UML-based specification technique and active implementation approach

Akehurst, David H (2000) Model translation : a UML-based specification technique and active implementation approach. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86215) (KAR id:86215)


Many software applications involve models of data that are manipulated by the application. There is often a need to transform (or translate) the data from one model, into another in which the data is differently structured. In addition, there is an increasing requirement to pass data between different applications, which invariably have different formats for their data models. Both of these issues require a translation of the modelled data from one form to another. The process of translating a model from one form to another is known as model transformation or model translation. The literature on model transformation includes a number of techniques for specifying transformations. However, the majority of these techniques are grammar-based specifications, many of which use a textual grammar, although some make use of graphical (graph) grammars. These subsequently lead to a monolithic one-step implementation process that performs the transformation. This thesis addresses two issues that are related to the area of model transformation. Firstly, it addresses the need for a standard notation that can be used for writing model translator specifications. Secondly, a technique for implementing model translators is developed that actively performs the transformation. Rather than a single step process, that must be executed every time the source model changes, the active implementation approach presented performs a continuous translation updating the target model every time a change is made to the source model. The specification technique makes use of the standardised Unified Modelling Language (UML) and Object Constraint Language (OCL) for specifying a transformation relationship between two object-oriented models, each of which is also specified using UML and OCL. The implementation approach uses an event-based version of the observer pattern enabling the construction of translator to be formed from a number of mini-translator parts, each of which monitors a small set of components. These mini-translators act upon events generated by the model components and update the transformed components to reflect the changes. The specification and implementation techniques described can be applied to many problem areas. In particular this thesis discusses their application to Multiple View Visual Languages (i.e. the UML itself) and automatic performance model generation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86215
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Software, computer programming
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 76 Software, computer programming,
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:35 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 21:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.