Runtime translation of OCL-like statements on Simulink models: Expanding domains and optimising queries

Beatriz A. Sanchez*, Athanasios Zolotas, Horacio Hoyos Rodriguez, Dimitris Kolovos, Richard F. Paige, Justin C. Cooper, Jason Hampson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Open-source model management frameworks such as OCL and ATL tend to focus on manipulating models built atop the Eclipse Modelling Framework (EMF), a de facto standard for domain specific modelling. MATLAB Simulink is a widely used proprietary modelling framework for dynamic systems that is built atop an entirely different technical stack to EMF. To leverage the facilities of open-source model management frameworks with Simulink models, these can be transformed into an EMF-compatible representation. Downsides of this approach include the synchronisation of the native Simulink model and its EMF representation as they evolve; the completeness of the EMF representation, and the transformation cost which can be crippling for large Simulink models. We propose an alternative approach to bridge Simulink models with open-source model management frameworks that uses an “on-the-fly” translation of model management constructs into MATLAB statements. Our approach does not require an EMF representation and can mitigate the cost of the upfront transformation on large models. To evaluate both approaches we measure the performance of a model validation process with Epsilon (a model management framework) on a sample of large Simulink models available on GitHub. Our previous results suggest that, with our approach, the total validation time can be reduced by up to 80%. In this paper, we expand our approach to support the management of Simulink requirements and dictionaries, and we improve the approach to perform queries on collections of model elements more efficiently. We demonstrate the use of the Simulink requirements and dictionaries with a case study and we evaluate the optimisations on collection queries with an experiment that compares the performance of a set of queries on models with different sizes. Our results suggest an improvement by up to 99% on some queries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1889-1918
Number of pages30
JournalSoftware and Systems Modeling
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work in this paper was partially supported by Innovate UK and the UK aerospace industry through the HICLASS project (contract #113213) and the EPSRC through the National Productivity Investment Fund in partnership with Rolls-Royce under Grant EP/R512230/1. Richard Paige acknowledges the support of NSERC via the Discovery Grant program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Eclipse Modelling Framework
  • Epsilon
  • Interoperability
  • MATLAB Simulink
  • Model driven engineering
  • Query optimisation

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