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Main research themes

The goal of the ECOO team is to design and implement basic services as well as develop a methodology in order to allow the creation of virtual, distributed enterprises. Our main focus is cooperation through object sharing in interactive applications (co-design, software engineering, cooperative editing, workflow, ...) distributed on a Wide Area Network (typically Internet).

Our research focusses on 4 themes:
  • Coordination models
  • Communication models
  • Coordination/communication relation
  • Objects : languages and systems
Coordination models

By coordination, we mean all well-structured cooperative interactions which are defined by identified tasks and characterized by a logic to link these tasks.

Our approach consists in starting from existing workflow models and extending them to take into account their identified shortcomings: lack of flexibility, poor handling of unforseen events, lack of adaptation abilities, interoperability issues in virtual enterprises frameworks, lack of clear and formal bases. To do this, we are developping a transactionnal cooperative workflow approach.

Communication models

By communication, we mean everything completing the coordination in cooperative interactions that can be found in the context of a virtual team or enterprise. This also includes what is often reffered to as collaboration.

We focus on three specific points: identifying concepts and mechanisms allowing the structuration of the communication and cooperation space for a large group, implementing group awareness mechanisms adapted to a large scale context, modeling finely specific tasks with a strong communication component such as negociation, decision making and conflict resolution aid, and more generally the integration of the various aspects of communication, beyond a simple juxtaposition of tools addressing global issues in an isolated and partial way.

Coordination/communication relation

Research efforts on coordination and communication have generally been lead in an isolated way and thus have produced results and tools which are independent from each others. However, coordination and communication are complementary, and support mechanisms should allow their integration within the same environment for use in the same processes. More specifically, the structuration of processes implied by coordination models should be usable to organize and structure communications. Similarly, these communications may have an impact on tasks coordination by being the origin of some activities triggerring and of the reorganization of the task sequencing logic.

Objects : languages and systems

We study the use of static analysis and partial evaluation technique to optimize the translatation and execution of object-oriented languages. We especially focus on statically solving late binding sites in order to avoid using function tables to implement late binding itself. The developped techniques are implemented in the Eiffel compiler SmallEiffel, The GNU Eiffel Compiler.

We also investigate the potential of object-oriented languages and models (Java, Corba,...) for the development of a technological base for virtual enterprises implementation.