April 27 – 30 , 2008, Dagstuhl Seminar 08181

The Evolution of Conceptual Modeling


Lois Delcambre (Portland State University, US)
Roland H. Kaschek (Massey University, NZ)
Heinrich C. Mayr (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, AT)

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The seminar took place at Dagstuhl from 27 – 30 April 2008. It was organized by Roland Kaschek, Lois Delcambre and Heinrich C. Mayr. The seminar’s purpose was looking into conceptual modeling from different perspectives, and along different dimensions: we wanted to achieve a better understanding of conceptualmodeling issues in various domains of discourse, from a historical perspective and from a view beyond individual (modeling) projects. Consequently we did not focus on a particular application area or development project.

In total 33 colleagues attended the seminar and 26 presentations were given. Many attendees expressed their satisfaction with the superior working and meeting conditions at Dagstuhl, as well as with its beautiful environment. It was understood that the attendees were interested in documenting in a Springer LNCS volume the common effort for better understanding conceptual modeling. Related editorial work as well as preparations is ongoing. Springer has in the meantime committed to making this book.

Many attendees explicitly mentioned to us that they highly valuated the breadth of subjects discussed in the seminar. It would, however, not be a true description of the seminar to keep quiet about the critique of some of the attendees of exactly that breadth of the discussion. Certainly they have a valid point here: to some extent, of course, the breadth goes at expense of the depth. On the other hand, considering smaller and smaller areas of knowledge for being capable of going into more and more depth of these small areas also has its problems. Overall the attendees evaluated the seminar positively. The project was launched to organize a continuing seminar at Dagstuhl in April 2013. Maybe a repeated seminar will be more successful at discussing the evolution of conceptual modeling. Maybe more explicitly acknowledging that modern computing already has a history will help to focus on the succession of ways to do conceptual modeling, the concepts and notations used throughout, as well as the problems to be solved and the degree to which one actually can do so.

The discussion was colored by contributions of a number of colleagues from smaller companies who attended the seminar; unfortunately they did not give presentations.

About 25 abstracts have been provided by seminar attendees for the above mentioned LNCS volume. We are currently confident to publish that volume in late 2009.


  • Modelling / Simulation
  • Data Structures / Algorithms / Complexity
  • Networks


  • Matrix analytic methods
  • Markov processes
  • Queuing theory
  • Numerical methods
  • Structured matrices
  • Telecommunication modeling
  • Performance evaluation


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


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Dagstuhl's Impact

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Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.