Conceptual modeling in social and physical contexts


Wieringa, R.J. (2008) Conceptual modeling in social and physical contexts. [Report]

open access
Abstract:The history of the computing sciences shows a shift in attention
from the syntactic properties of computation to the semantics of
computing in the real world. A large part of this shift has been brought
about by the introduction of conceptual modeling languages. In this paper
I review this history from the early 1970s and identify the elements
of real-world semantics that these notations have been used for. In the
physical domains typical of control systems, conceptual modeling is always
combined with causal modeling in order to register and control behavior
in the domain. Because causal relationships are domain-specic,
conceptual modeling languages in physical domains can be expected to
evolve into domain-specic languages used by engineers. By contrast,
in social domains causal modeling plays a minor role. In social domains
conceptual models are shared by the people in the domain, and therefore
constitute the domain. This creates a dierent mechanism for registration
and control, in which events can be made to occur by means of social
convention. Because conceptual models constitute the social world, we
can expect conceptual modeling languages to evolve into domain specic
languages here too, but in contrast to conceptual modeling languages in
physical domains, they will be used as means of communication between
engineers and members of the social domain. This paper ends with a plea
for more specialization and less standardization in conceptual modeling.
Item Type:Report
Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)
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