Software System Award Cites Statemate, First Commercial Tool to Apply Innovative Visual Languages to Conquer Escalating Design Challenges
The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession
Statemate was the first commercial computer-aided software engineering tool to successfully overcome the challenges of complex interactive, real time computer systems, known as reactive systems. The ideas reflected in Statemate underlie many of the most powerful and widely used tools in software and systems engineering today.
Systems engineers can use this modeling and simulation tool to represent key elements of large, complex reactive systems such as real-time embedded systems, control and communication systems, and interactive software. By precisely representing system descriptions, Statemate enables users to prepare, simulate, analyze, design, and debug these diagrammatic descriptions. This verification process results in outstanding quality and reliability for designers of complex computing systems, who are faced with rapidly expanding design content, new features, ambiguous design parameters, and evolving customer requirements.
Statemate was conceived and built between 1984 and 1986. Prior to that time, many computer-aided software and systems engineering (CASE) tools typically provided some kind of graphical support of design notations, but they were not founded on sound theoretical grounds and had no dynamic capabilities. Like programming language environments that lacked compilers and interpreters, these tools could neither execute models nor generate code to run on computer systems.
In 1983, David Harel developed Statecharts, a graphical language for system specification. This language provided natural, easy-to-grasp abstraction features that facilitate human understanding of complex system behavior. Later, Harel and Amir Pnueli identified the problematic class of "reactive systems." These systems are challenging to design and build because they function in concurrent, real-time, and highly interactive ways. The Statechart language turned out to be well suited to modeling the dynamics of reactive systems. In early 1984, Harel together with Amir Pnueli and the brothers Ido and Hagi Lachover founded AdCad to build a CASE tool that supported Statecharts.
At AdCad, the larger group, which included Harel and Pnueli as well as Lachover, Amnon Naamad, Michal Politi, Rivi Sherman, Aron Trauring, and Mark Trakhtenbrot, created a broader framework that could capture not only the dynamics, but also the structure and functionality of large complex systems. By 1986, the first version of Statemate was operational, enabling systems engineers to use the tools to draw model artifacts, check and analyze them, produce documents from them, and manage their configurations and versions. Most important, however, they could fully execute the functional and behavioral descriptions specified in the models, and automatically generate fully runnable computer code from the models.
In 1988, the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) presented the paper Statemate: A Working Environment for the Development of Complex Reactive Systems with its best paper award. In 1998, ICSE honored the same paper as the most influential paper on the theory or practice of software engineering during the 10 years since its 1988 publication. The ICSE awards are presented by the ACM Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (SIGSOFT).
In the 1990s, Statecharts were incorporated into the Unified Modeling Language (UML), the industry-standard language for specifying, visualizing, constructing, and documenting software systems. During that decade, the modified UML became the basis for many new generation CASE tools. Statemate® is currently available from Telelogic, a provider of Enterprise Lifecycle Management software, which acquired I-Logix in 2006.
Recipients of the 2007 ACM Software System Award
David Harel holds the William Sussman Professorial Chair at the Weizmann Institute of Science in
Hagi Lachover was founder and manager of operations at I-Logix as well as founder and general manager at AdCad. He was awarded the Rothschild Prize for Innovation. He earned a B.Sc. degree in applied mathematics from
Amnon Naamad leads the Innovation and Systems Engineering group of Symmetrix Engineering for Massachusetts-based EMC corporation, a leader in information infrastructure technology. He received B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in mathematics and computer science from
Amir Pnueli is professor in computer science at the New York University Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He was awarded the 1996 ACM A.M. Turing Award for his seminal work introducing temporal logic into computing science, and for outstanding contributions to program and system verification. A graduate of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in
Michal Politi is project manager and senior system engineer for Tadiran Electronic Systems’ Elisra Group, an Israeli electronics company. She coauthored Modeling Reactive Systems with Statecharts: The Statemate Approach with David Harel in 1998. Ms. Politi received a B.Sc. degree in mathematics and physics from
Rivi Sherman is president and chief executive officer of Negevtech Ltd., an Israeli semiconductor equipment company. She served as general manager for advanced products development at Applied Materials PDC in
Aron Trauring is chief executive officer and co-founder of Zoteca, a software company in
Mark Trakhtenbrot heads the Computer Science Department at Holon Institute of Technology in
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