Software & Systems Modeling

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 581–597 | Cite as

Bridging the chasm between MDE and the world of compilation

  • Jean-Marc Jézéquel
  • Benoit Combemale
  • Steven Derrien
  • Clément Guy
  • Sanjay Rajopadhye
Expert's Voice


Modeling and transforming have always been the cornerstones of software system development, albeit often investigated by different research communities. Modeling addresses how information is represented and processed, while transformation cares about what the results of processing this information are. To address the growing complexity of software systems, model-driven engineering (MDE) leverages domain-specific languages to define abstract models of systems and automated methods to process them. Meanwhile, compiler technology mostly concentrates on advanced techniques and tools for program transformation. For this, it has developed complex analyses and transformations (from lexical and syntactic to semantic analyses, down to platform-specific optimizations). These two communities appear today quite complementary and are starting to meet again in the software language engineering (SLE) field. SLE addresses all the stages of a software language lifecycle, from its definition to its tooling. In this article, we show how SLE can lean on the expertise of both MDE and compiler research communities and how each community can bring its solutions to the other one. We then draw a picture of the current state of SLE and of the challenges it has still to face.


Model-driven engineering (MDE) Domain-specific language (DSL) Compilation Intermediate representation (IR) Software language engineering (SLE) 



This work is the result of a close collaboration between Inria and Colorado State University (CSU), involving two teams in MDE (the Triskell team at Inria and the SE group at CSU), and two teams in optimizing compilers (the CAIRN team at Inria and the Mélange group at CSU). This collaboration is partially funded by the Inria associated teams MoCAA and LRS.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Marc Jézéquel
    • 1
  • Benoit Combemale
    • 1
  • Steven Derrien
    • 1
  • Clément Guy
    • 1
  • Sanjay Rajopadhye
    • 2
  1. 1.IRISA, InriaUniversity of Rennes 1RennesFrance
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering DepartmentColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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