Modeling language: Wikis


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A modeling language is any artificial language that can be used to express information or knowledge or systems in a structure that is defined by a consistent set of rules. The rules are used for interpretation of the meaning of components in the structure.



A modeling language can be graphical or textual.[1]

  • Graphical modeling languages use a diagram technique with named symbols that represent concepts and lines that connect the symbols and represent relationships and various other graphical notation to represent constraints.
  • Textual modeling languages typically use standardized keywords accompanied by parameters to make computer-interpretable expressions.

An example of a graphical modeling language and a corresponding textual modeling language is EXPRESS.

Not all modeling languages are executable, and for those that are, the use of them doesn't necessarily mean that programmers are no longer required. On the contrary, executable modeling languages are intended to amplify the productivity of skilled programmers, so that they can address more challenging problems, such as parallel computing and distributed systems.

A large number of modeling languages appear in the literature.

Type of modeling languages


Graphical modeling languages

Example of graphical modeling languages in the field of computer science, project management and systems engineering:

  • Behavior Trees are a formal, graphical modeling language used primarily in systems and software engineering. Commonly used to unambiguously represent the hundreds or even thousands of natural language requirements that are typically used to express the stakeholder needs for a large-scale software-integrated system.
  • Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN, and the XML form BPML) is an example of a Process Modeling language.
  • EXPRESS and EXPRESS-G (ISO 10303-11) is an international standard general-purpose data modeling language.
  • Extended Enterprise Modeling Language (EEML) is commonly used for business process modeling across a number of layers.
  • Flowchart is a schematic representation of an algorithm or a stepwise process,
  • Fundamental Modeling Concepts (FMC) modeling language for software-intensive systems.
  • IDEF is a family of modeling languages, which include IDEF0 for functional modeling, IDEF1X for information modeling, IDEF3 for business process modeling, IDEF4 for Object-Oriented Design and IDEF5 for modeling ontologies.
  • Jackson Structured Programming (JSP) is a method for structured programming based on correspondences between data stream structure and program structure
  • LePUS3 is an object-oriented visual Design Description Language and a formal specification language that is suitable primarily for modeling large object-oriented (Java, C++, C#) programs and design patterns.
  • Object Role Modeling (ORM) in the field of software engineering is a method for conceptual modeling, and can be used as a tool for information and rules analysis.
  • Petri nets use variations on exactly one diagramming technique and topology, namely the bipartite graph. The simplicity of its basic user interface easily enabled extensive tool support over the years, particularly in the areas of model checking, graphically-oriented simulation, and software verification.
  • Southbeach Notation is a visual modeling language used to describe situations in terms of agents that are considered useful or harmful from the modeler's perspective. The notation shows how the agents interact with each other and whether this interaction improves or worsens the situation.
  • Specification and Description Language(SDL) is a specification language targeted at the unambiguous specification and description of the behaviour of reactive and distributed systems.
  • SysML is a Domain-Specific Modeling language for systems engineering that is defined as a UML profile (customization).
  • Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a general-purpose modeling language that is an industry standard for specifying software-intensive systems. UML 2.0, the current version, supports thirteen different diagram techniques, and has widespread tool support.

Examples of graphical modeling languages in other fields of science.

More specific modeling languages

In the field of computer science recently more specific types of modeling languages have emerged.

Algebraic Modeling Language

Algebraic Modeling Languages (AML) are high-level programming languages for describing and solving high complexity problems for large scale mathematical computation (i.e. large scale optimization type problems). One particular advantage of AMLs like AIMMS, AMPL, GAMS, LPL, MPL, OPL and OptimJ is the similarity of its syntax to the mathematical notation of optimization problems. This allows for a very concise and readable definition of problems in the domain of optimization, which is supported by certain language elements like sets, indices, algebraic expressions, powerful sparse index and data handling variables, constraints with arbitrary names. The algebraic formulation of a model does not contain any hints how to process it.

Domain-specific modeling language

Domain-specific modeling (DSM) is a software engineering methodology for designing and developing systems, most often IT systems such as computer software. It involves systematic use of a graphical domain-specific language (DSL) to represent the various facets of a system. DSM languages tend to support higher-level abstractions than General-purpose modeling languages, so they require less effort and fewer low-level details to specify a given system.

Framework-specific modeling language

A framework-specific modeling language (FSML) is a kind of domain-specific modeling language which is designed for an object-oriented application framework. FSMLs define framework-provided abstractions as FSML concepts and decompose the abstractions into features. The features represent implementation steps or choices.

A FSML concept can be configured by selecting features and providing values for features. Such a concept configuration represents how the concept should be implemented in the code. In other words, concept configuration describes how the framework should be completed in order to create the implementation of the concept.

Object modeling languages

Object modeling language are modeling languages based on a standardized set of symbols and ways of arranging them to model (part of) an object oriented software design or system design.

Some organizations use them extensively in combination with a software development methodology to progress from initial specification to an implementation plan and to communicate that plan to an entire team of developers and stakeholders. Because a modeling language is visual and at a higher-level of abstraction than code, using models encourages the generation of a shared vision that may prevent problems of differing interpretation later in development. Often software modeling tools are used to construct these models, which may then be capable of automatic translation to code.

Virtual Reality Modeling Language

Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), before 1995 known as the Virtual Reality Markup Language is a standard file format for representing 3-dimensional (3D) interactive vector graphics, designed particularly with the World Wide Web in mind.



Various kinds of modeling languages are applied in different disciplines, including computer science, information management, business process modeling, software engineering, and systems engineering. Modeling languages can be used to specify:

  • system requirements,
  • structures and
  • behaviors.

Modeling languages are intended to be used to precisely specify systems so that stakeholders (e.g., customers, operators, analysts, designers) can better understand the system being modeled.

The more mature modeling languages are precise, consistent and executable. Informal diagramming techniques applied with drawing tools are expected to produce useful pictorial representations of system requirements, structures and behaviors, but not much else. Executable modeling languages applied with proper tool support, however, are expected to automate system verification, validation, simulation and code generation from the same representations.

See also


  1. ^ Xiao He (2007). "A metamodel for the notation of graphical modeling languages". In: Computer Software and Applications Conference, 2007. COMPSAC 2007 - Vol. 1. 31st Annual International, Volume 1, Issue , 24-27 July 2007, pp 219-224.

External links


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