CHOReOS Interview: Apostolos Zarras, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Ioannina (Greece).
How would you present the CHOReOS project?
I see the CHOReOS project from a software engineering perspective. CHOReOS introduces a new software development process that is inspired from the evolution of the existing Internet towards the Future Internet. The CHOReOS development process is based on software re-use and specifically relies on a huge “virtual” software repository.
What is this huge repository?
The Internet! The Net has a ton of re-usable software building blocks called Web services that are constantly expanding as the Internet evolves towards the Future Internet. The goal of the CHOReOS development process is to encourage developers to take advantage of this rapidly evolving situation while at the same time avoiding the risks of information overload. On the one hand, a ton of reusable software is a big plus for developers especially if they can tweak the software to develop a particular system. On the other hand, developers are all too often overwhelmed by the huge amount of alternative Web services out there. It is the curse of the Information Age! How are developers supposed to know what is the right services for their systems? The situation gets even trickier when you consider the surprises you often find on the Net. A service could turn out to be unreliable or untrustworthy or it may not even do what it is supposed to do. Still, we have to mine the Internet for best of breed services as part of the challenging issues that we investigate in CHOReOS.
What is your role in the project?
In CHOReOS, I represent the University of Ioannina as a principal investigator. The University of Ioannina co-leads a significant work package of the project that focuses on the CHOReOS middleware that in turn supports the overall CHOReOS development process. University of Ioannina further contributes to the work packages that concentrate on the definition of the CHOReOS architectural style and the CHOReOS development process. We bring our expertise in software architecture, middleware, data-mining and databases. It is a great opportunity for us, so we are keen to make it a success.
What key innovation do you bring or help to develop?
Our research focuses on service discovery and service adaptation. We specifically investigate the problem of information overload that I mentioned above. Technically speaking, our goal is to propose methods and develop tools to reverse-engineer service abstractions from the vast amount of concrete services that are available in the Net.
Can you explain what you mean by reverse engineering service abstractions and why this innovation would help developers?
A service abstraction represents a group of concrete services that offer similar functionalities and qualities. So instead of dealing with a huge number of similar services, a developer would focus on a single service abstraction. That’s the idea behind reverse engineering service abstractions. It’s making service abstractions the driving force behind the development of software allowing developers to adapt the services they use in their system. Or looked at from a different point of view, the system is developed with respect to service abstractions rather than with respect to the concrete services represented by those abstractions. In other words, we are trying to apply the fundamental principle of information hiding but applied to the Future Internet.
A word about the University of Ioannina
The University of Ioannina consists of 17 academic departments which altogether number 550 faculty members of academic staff, 13,523 undergraduate students and more than 3,500 graduate students.
About Apostolos Zarras
Apostolos Zarra is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Ioannina. Apostolos received his Ph.D. in Software Architecture from the University of Rennes I. His research interests include software architectures, middleware, reengineering, reverse engineering and reconfiguration. Since 2004, Apostolos has held a position at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Ioannina. Apostolos has also published over 40 papers in international conferences, journals and magazines, and has served as a program committee member of several leading software engineering and middleware conferences. In the context of CHOReOS, Apostolos has the pleasure of collaborating with colleagues Panos Vassiliadis and Dionysis Athanasopoulos. Panos Vassiliadis is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Ioannina, while Dionysis Athanasopoulos is a bright young researcher who is currently doing his Ph.D.
CHOReOS is a project of the FP7 European program: FP7-ICT-2009-5 - Objective 1.2 (grant agremment n° 257178)