November 18 – 23 , 2018, Dagstuhl Seminar 18471

Next Generation Domain Specific Conceptual Modeling: Principles and Methods


Heinrich C. Mayr (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, AT)
Sudha Ram (University of Arizona – Tucson, US)
Wolfgang Reisig (HU Berlin, DE)
Markus Stumptner (University of South Australia – Adelaide, AU)

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Dagstuhl Report, Volume 8, Issue 11 Dagstuhl Report
Aims & Scope
List of Participants
Dagstuhl's Impact: Documents available
Dagstuhl Seminar Schedule [pdf]


Models are the basic human tools for managing complexity and understanding and therefore play a key role in all scientific and engineering disciplines as well as in everyday life. Many modeling paradigms have evolved over time into a wide variety of modeling languages, methods and tools that have come and gone. This is particularly true for Informatics, which is a modeling discipline in itself.

Since the 1970s, special attention has been paid to conceptual modeling. This approach essentially uses a formal language whose concepts are linked to a semantic interpretation (e.g. by the grounding in an ontology) and a more or less transparent graphic or textual representation (which supports efficient linguistic perception). Normally, such a language is embedded in a model/meta model hierarchy. The dimensions of conceptual modeling languages are structure, dynamics (behavior) and functionality.

Despite all efforts, however, there is still no comprehensive and consistent use of conceptual modeling in practice. Often conceptual models are only used as prescriptive documents, which - e.g. in the area of software development or business process management - are rarely synchronized with the developed artifact, so that reality and model diverge step by step. This observation motivated us to promote and conduct this seminar by focusing on domain-specific conceptual modeling, as this promises a methodology that is more tailored to the needs of each user group.

In view of the highly committed discussions during the seminar, the intensive discussions in the working groups and the very positive results of the participant survey, we can say without exaggeration that the seminar was a complete success. Almost all participants wished for a continuation, which we will probably apply for in 2021, when the already decided projects (cooperation and publications of subgroups) are on their way.

Since, with one exception, every participant wanted to present their ideas in a talk, the programme was tightly packed: 36 talks and 2 full evening sessions in working groups, the results of which were reported on the next morning, made the seminar week a very intensive but also highly inspiring experience.

First results are already tangible:

  • The workshop "Conceptual Modeling for Multi-Agent Problem Solving" at the IJCAJ 2019 in Macao: The idea was born during the seminar and implemented afterwards:
  • A working group is currently writing a summary paper on the results of the working groups on which agreement was reached in the plenary discussions.
  • Questions that were discussed during the seminar will be included in contributions to the Summer School "Next Generation Enterprise Modelling in the Digital Transformation" in Vienna (July 15-26, Vienna).
  • The seminar organizers are currently writing a somewhat more popular scientific column to be submitted to CACM.

A number of open questions and ``grand challenges'' that also could be topics of future relevant conferences have been identified, among others:

  • Social Aspects of Conceptual Modeling
  • Explanatory Models for Neural Networks and Big Data
  • Conceptual Modeling for validation purposes in simulation
  • Modeling of Ultra Large Scale Architectures
  • Privacy Modeling
  • Modeling of Behavior Goals for Assistive Systems and Emotions
  • Better integration into teaching at universities of applied sciences and universities
  • Tools and Technical Infrastructures for Conceptual Modeling, in particular for "multi-metamodeling frameworks"
  • Involvement of researchers and practitioners from other fields: "go beyond the obvious".

The biggest challenge for a follow-up seminar will be to encourage more practitioners to participate. For this purpose, we will propose to dedicate two consecutive seminar days to this and the discussion with them, as practitioners usually cannot spend more time.

Summary text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported license
  Heinrich C. Mayr


  • Modelling / Simulation
  • Semantics / Formal Methods


  • Conceptual Modeling Methodology
  • Modeling Technique
  • Domain Specific Modeling Method
  • Ontology
  • Model Based Reasoning


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.


Download overview leaflet (PDF).

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.


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