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.

A shorter version of this article was published in Norwegian in Teknisk Ukeblad on February 2019.

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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  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.

Double standards in Norwegian environmental culture?

Norway: Environmental hero or hypocrite?” was the question the Financial Times asked a year ago. As a resident in Norway for the last decade and with a background of research and innovation, I have long been concerned with the same question.

Norway has implemented a number of measures for a green shift. For example, power generation is mainly based on renewable sources, and the number of electric cars per capita is the largest in the world. Nevertheless, the waste volume in Norway increased by 7% while recycling decreased 1% from 2013 to 2014.

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A step forward in my career

Dear friends and colleagues,

I am excited to announce that I have accepted a position as Senior Advisor at EVRY Cloud Services in Oslo. EVRY is the largest IT company in Norway and among the largest in the Nordics with almost 10 000 employees. Cloud Services is a new business area of EVRY that offers advisory and consulting services to assist customers with designing the cloud solutions that best fit their requirements. I will start on the 1st of March, and I am looking forward to it!

EVRY at Fornebu

I would like to thank SINTEF for four rewarding years with the organisation; I will try to be a good ambassador for SINTEF in the future.

With optimistic wishes,

© 2019 Alessandro Rossini

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