some historical statistics on modeling formalisms

Some historical statistics about the use of formalisms for modeling automated systems since 1800. Here is a chart about how frequently a particular name of a modeling formalism was used in literature. I’ve picked Automata, Petri nets, Process algebra, Statecharts, and UML.

You can get the full chart (and add your own favorite formalism) using Google Ngram. What I find surprising is that Petri nets were at some point as relevant in literature as automata (which have been discussed since the 1800s already). I’m not surprised that UML peaks all of them by far. On second throught also UML’s decline is not suprising as the hype returns to normal levels. What I do find surprising is that process algebras are much less referenced in literature than even the very particular, though successful, technique of statecharts.


from the other side of the review form: why papers get rejected and what the BPM community can do about it

I’ve been reviewing papers for the International Conference on Business Process Management (BPM) over the last 3 or 4 years, in 2011 and 2012 as a member of the Program Committee. In that time my evaluations of submitted research papers have been to reject the paper in the very vast majority of cases. This year the best score I gave was a borderline on one paper, and a reject on all other papers (8 in total), other years were a bit better, but not much. In the following I’d like to share my view on why the papers were rejected. Paper authors may find this interesting to learn how they can improve their chances of getting a paper accepted. Perhaps more importantly, it also sheds a light on publishing standards within BPM research and what the BPM community as a whole can do to promote these standards.

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number of ways students name an activity in a process model

I am currently evaluating data of a modeling experiment conducted with a number of colleagues. In that experiment, students were given a textual description of the NFL drafting process (which NFL scouts use to pick future star players), and students had to come up with a graphical process model of that process. We had 113 students participating. Obviously, different students will create different models. We also expected students to name the activities in the process model differently. Yet, we found a variety of ways of naming an activity that strikes me.

One sentence in the process description was the following

Afterwards the scouting team attends games of the player they are interested in live in the football stadium.

For this particular activity, we received 84 different ways of naming it (see complete list at the end of this post) – in other words, 2/3 of the students derived a different formal concept from this sentence. I think these observations hint at what needs to improved in teaching modeling. And also shows where real-world problems are in aligning process models to formal or informal descriptions.
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harald lesch erklärt das universum (alpha centauri sendungen 1998-2007)

this post is in German because it links to video streams in German

Wer auf diesem Fels im All schon einige Jahre dabei ist, kann sich noch daran erinneren, wie er, spät abends nach Hause kommend, entspannen konnte. Erst Bob Ross beim malen zusehen und dann von Prof. Harald Lesch in alpha centauri sehr unterhaltsam in komplexe Phänomene der Physik und des Universums eingeführt werden. Die alpha centauri Sendungen mit Harald Lesch stellt BR Alpha als Videostream zur Verfügung. Zum jederzeit Ansehen und Staunen: