Mike Holcombe - MSc Projects 2007-8

WMLH-1. Estimation tool based on X-machines and stories – Eclipse plug-ins.

Key words: Eclipse, X-machines


This is a series of related projects to develop further the ADEPT environment which has been funded by IBM and is used within Genesys. The tool will may be used in the Eclipse environment for the Software Hut (2nd year undergraduate) projects.

Eclipse is an international movement, strongly supported by many large companies such as IBM, which develops and promotes an open source IDE. This has the facility for incorporating plug ins to support various types of design, program and test activities in a coherent manner.

See http://www.genesys.shef.ac.uk/eclipse


and http://www.eclipse.org/

Stories can be both simple and complex. Complex ones are often decomposed into simpler ones. Estimates of the effort needed to implement the stories are made – often guessed - and are used in estimating the project effort and delivery date. X-machine models are used to show how stories fit together into a complete system and can be analysed in terms of the structure of the screens associated with some states, with the operations of the transition functions and so on. Some machines can be decomposed further, for example a complex transition may be replaced by an X-machine defined at a lower level.

The tool would allow users to define the type of implementation involved in all these aspects and its associated cost in terms of development time. An overall project estimate should then be generated which would change if the stories

The key aspect is that it should be flexible and easy to use.


No specific requirements other than access to PCs, eclipse and Java.


Start with the Eclipse pages on Genesys.

Module Links


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Project description.

WMLH-2: The Balanced Scorecard

The balanced Scorecard is a way of thinking about the many different types of information that, typically, are involved in running a company.
It tries to combine these into a coherent management framework that allows for strategic management to take place effectively.
The project will begin with a survey of the Balanced Scorecard approach and a review of tools that claim to provide support for this.
We will identify a possible tool to build that could provide a simplified balanced scorecard facility for a small company using Genesys as a focus and application environment.


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Project description.

WMLH-3 Simulations of agent-based systems and analysis of their results

A number of research projects in the Department involve the simulation of massive multi-agent systems – applications include biological models – tissue growth, social insect networks, molecular biology of bacteria - and economic and social systems – economic markets of various types.
These massive simulations – maybe involving hundreds of thousands of agents generate a lot of data. Trying to extract useful information from this data is a challenge.
We will evaluate a number of  techniques for analysing stochastic simulation data and investigate one of these models in detail.
FLAME - Flexible Large scale Agent-based Modelling Environment
Information Provided by supervisor.

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Project description.

WMLH-4 Smart card specification

As part of the Grand Challenge in computing project we have been asked to develop a formal specification using X-machines of the smart card system Mondex.
This will involve using a combination of X-machines (general finite state machines) and simple discrete maths to develop this specification and carry out some analysis and test set generation. This will be a continuation of a project from 2006-7
Information Provided by supervisor.

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