My first contribution to PwC’s Digital Transformation blog

Many potentially breakthrough ideas fall into the so-called technological “valley of death” due to a gap between academic research and industrial commercialization. This is a missed opportunity for economic and social progress, so I decided to write about it. After just three months with PwC, here is my first contribution to our Digital Transformation blog: five actions for academia and industry to bridge the gap and co-create innovation.

Opinion: Why is model-driven engineering unpopular in industry, and what can we do about it?

Model-driven engineering (MDE)1 is a branch of software engineering that aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of software development by shifting the paradigm from code-centric to model-centric.

I have been in the MDE community on and off for about 15 years. My supervisor at the University of L’Aquila, Alfonso Pierantonio, introduced me to MDE in 2003. Back then, the approach was still in its infancy and was not even called model-driven engineering. I wrote my Bachelor thesis in 2003 on code generation based on Unified Modeling Language (UML), and my Master thesis in 2006 on model versioning.

During my four years as a PhD candidate at the University of Bergen, I researched formal aspects of model versioning and multi-level modeling, and successfully defended my PhD thesis in 2011. During my following four+ years as a researcher at SINTEF, I conducted applied research on domain-specific languages and models@run-time for automating cloud management platforms. I also compared two-level and multi-level techniques to modeling cloud application topologies. My work has led to several publications in journals and conference proceedings.

Eventually, I decided to come back to the business world, with the aim of transferring these research results to industry. As an advisor and manager at Norway’s largest IT organizations, I have worked with architectures and solutions as well as trained colleagues and clients. While I did not expect MDE to be widespread, I did expect UML and domain-specific languages (DSLs) to be an integral part of these activities. Unfortunately, I have been disappointed.

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Footnotes

  1. Some researchers in the field would argue that this approach is not an engineering discipline and that it should be called model-driven development (MDD) instead. The Oxford English Dictionary defines engineering as “the branch of science and technology concerned with the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and structures.” Considering that software and data are in fact structures, I am perfectly comfortable with the term model-driven engineering, and I will not distinguish between MDE and MDD.

I am joining PwC Consulting

Today I have had my last day at EVRY. The picture shows a glimpse of my farewell gathering, where I presented the history of chocolate-hazelnut spreads. Because sometimes, you have to have fun at work!

Me presenting the history of chocolate-hazelnut spreads at EVRY

It has been great getting to know my colleagues during my time with the company. While I am excited about the new opportunity ahead of me, leaving excellent working relationships is bittersweet.

In two weeks I will start as a Senior Manager in the Business Technology group at PwC Consulting in Oslo. I look forward to learning more about new domains, about management, and about myself.

Online friendship—Quality over quantity

The Oxford English Dictionary defines friendship as “the emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends.

I have always taken friendship seriously, and I believe I have to work on friendship as I work on everything else. A couple of years ago, I started to wonder if I applied these criteria to online friendship.

I understand that online relationships are less restrained and encompass an entire spectrum from acquaintance to friendship. Nevertheless, I forced myself to treat friendship in the digital world as in the real world, so I run a sort of experiment throughout the last two years.

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