Software & Systems Modeling

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 451–478 | Cite as

Formalizing the structural semantics of domain-specific modeling languages

Theme Section


Model-based approaches to system design are now widespread and successful. These approaches make extensive use of model structure to describe systems using domain-specific abstractions, to specify and implement model transformations, and to analyze structural properties of models. In spite of its general importance the structural semantics of modeling languages are not well-understood. In this paper we develop the formal foundations for the structural semantics of domain-specific modeling languages (DSML), including the mechanisms by which metamodels specify the structural semantics of DSMLs. Additionally, we show how our formalization can complement existing tools, and how it yields algorithms for the analysis of DSMLs and model transformations.


Model-based Design Domain-specific modeling languages Structural semantics Metamodeling Formal logic Horn logic 


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© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Foundations of Software EngineeringMicrosoft ResearchRedmondUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Software Integrated SystemsVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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